The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) department of the Federal Ministry of Health has said that Nigeria has the highest number of people infected with Tuberculosis (TB) in Africa.
The National Coordinator of the NTBLCP, Dr. Adebola Lawason, who made this known at the workshop organized in collaboration with Breakthrough Action and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for health reporters in Nasarawa on Monday said that Nigeria is the 6th highest burden of TB patients globally and the first in Africa.
Represented by Mrs. O. Shofowora, she said: “Tuberculosis is one of the top 10 causes of death nationwide, and Nigeria is classified among the 30 countries of the world with high burden of TB, Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) and TB/HIV.
“Tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which affects mostly the lungs. It is called Pulmonary Tuberculosis.
“Our goal is to achieve a 50% reduction in the TB prevalence rate and a 75% reduction in TB mortality rate, that is, excluding those that are co-infected with HIV by 2025.”
A 2017 global report by the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals that an estimated two out of every 1,000 Nigerian will have TB every year. This is an estimated figure; the actual figure might be scarier.
She further added that: “In Nigeria, in 2017, out of over 407,000 people we are supposed to reach who have TB, we got only 104,000; the remaining 396,000 is still at large. Out of the 104,000, we have recorded 10% deaths.
“Most people who are infected the most with TB are within the reproductive ages of 15 years to 44 years.
“Also, one single person with Pulmonary TB can infect between 10-15 people in a year. This is an estimate.
“At least 18 people die every hour as a result of untreated and unattended cases of TB. The awareness of TB is very low, and some people don’t even want to know.
“The TB bacteria can be suspended in the air for up to 8 hours; that is, between 4-8 hours. The bacteria cannot strive under sunlight or in a place that is well ventilated.”
The prevalence of Tuberculosis is very high in the country because the level awareness is low primarily because of the insufficiency of funds for the programme at the national, state, and local government levels.
She urged everyone – private sector, philanthropist, etc., to join the fight to end the spread of this deadly disease as government cannot do it alone.
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