Tuberculosis occurs all over the world but there is great difference in prevalence between the developed world and the rest of the world. This could be attributed to early diagnosis and treatment, better nutrition, better housing and preventive measures.
At a point it was almost nonexistent in the developed world but those countries relaxed and the disease has re-surfaced with a vengeance.
India is said to account for about a fifth of new infections of tuberculosis globally, the reasons for this are obvious.
Tuberculosis now ranks alongside HIV as the world’s biggest killing infectious disease, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says.
The WHO has said that Tuberculosis figures of between 1.1 million and 1.2 million deaths in 2014 were unacceptable for a disease that is curable. It added that the statistics were disheartening and warned that the world was losing ground on tackling resistant forms of TB.
WHO, however, says it will shift to end TB by cutting deaths by 90 percent by 2030.
In Nigeria, there is a resurgence of TB, It has been reported that 91,534 Nigerians are infected with Tuberculosis annually,but sadly several cases remain unreported, thereby making it difficult for the disease to be eradicated..
There are over 6000 healthcare facilities across the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria providing Tuberculosis services including Faith based, Tertiary, Secondary as well as primary healthcare centers.
However, Tuberculosis can be prevented in the following ways:
1. Vaccination against TB at birth
The easiest way of preventing TB is by vaccination of a child against TB at birth/within a week of birth. That vaccination if successful gives lifelong protection against TB. However, older infants and children can also be given the vaccine if they did not receive it at birth.
2. Proper nutrition
Healthy diet builds up immunity against any disease including tuberculosis, consequently those who are poorly nourished or undernourished are at greater of developing active Tuberculosis infection if ex[posed to the bacteria.
3. Well ventilated housing
Tuberculosis spreads from person to person through spit of an infected person that has dried up. When dried up, it with the germs it contains can be blown by wind and any one can breathe it in. Very rarely it can spread by direct contact with the saliva or cough of a person with the disease. Very rarely too, it can spread from animal to person through unsterilized milk.
The spread of the disease is therefore encouraged by poorly ventilated and crowded homes.
Tuberculosis infection is commoner among illiterates, the uneducated; these are the persons who are likely to dwell in crowded houses and not able to have good nutrition.
5. Primary use of drugs
This is called primary prophylaxis, in this case TB drugs are given to uninfected individuals such as babies born to mothers with active TB infection and uninfected close contacts of persons with active TB infection.
6. Secondary use of drugs
This is called secondary prophylaxis, in this case TB drugs are given to people with chronic diseases that are likely to increase their risk of contracting TB. Such diseases include HIV/AIDS, Diabetes mellitus, Leukaemia, Renal disease and those on certain therapies
Also those who are positive to Heaf’s test, a test for detection of expose to TB causing bacteria but do not yet have the active disease.