National Coordinator of Tuberculosis Control Programme at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Gabriel Akang has disclosed that at least 600,000 Nigerians suffer tuberculosis (TB) and that out of this figure, only 100,000 cases which is only 18 percent were picked for treatment.
This was made known yesterday in Abuja during a media conference by STOP TB Partnership Nigeria at a two-day national TB conference with the theme, ‘TB Anywhere…is TB Everywhere.’
Akang said, “The purpose of the briefing was to bring all stakeholders both in the public and private sectors to identify these missed cases; so by 2020 we will end TB in Nigeria,” adding that there is free drugs and diagnosis in the country for patients.
“We have 5,000 call centres in Nigeria where people can access treatment,” he said.
According to Akang, Nigeria has the highest burden of tuberculosis in Africa and the third highest in the world.
The World Health Organisation Nigeria representative, Dr. Rui Vaz said that the important thing was to make public aware that TB kills.
“We have to mobilise the population, healthcare workers and the media to send the message to the public on TB.”
Meanwhile, wife of the president, Mrs Aisha Buhari who was represented by the wife of the vice president, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, regretted that Nigeria is the first in Africa and fourth in the world in terms of tuberculosis, which she says was the cause of several untimely deaths.
Buhari, who is also an ambassador to the ‘Stop TB Campaign,’ lamented that Nigeria is with the high prevalence of TB in Africa and globally due to low detection.
“Tuberculosis is the number one killer disease in Africa. Nigeria is currently number one in Africa and fourth in the world. Statistics shows approximately 600,000 people become infected with tuberculosis in Nigeria every year. 60 percent of these new infections affect children. Also, it is the common cause of death in persons living with HIV and children.”
“The emergence of multi drug resistance TB is also not acceptable. It is also not acceptable that Nigeria has one of the lowest detection rates in the world. It is currently detecting only 15 percent of TB cases. Over 170,000 Nigerians are dying from a preventable and curable disease.”
She said while the government is doing its best to end the scourge, there is need for development partners to assist in stemming the tide.
UN special envoy, Mr Eric Goosby said that strong political will from the government and other stakeholders was needed, if not the threat of tuberculosis would get worse if nothing is quickly done, adding that recognising and prioritising the disease were not enough.

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