It has emerged that Nigeria rank 11th among countries with high cases of tuberculosis in the world. This was made known recently during the 2014 World TB Day.
World TB Day is a day designed to raise awareness on this disease of public health importance and also, a moment for countries to reflect on how far they have gone in the fight against TB.
In his address at the event in Abuja recently, Minister of State for Health, Dr. Khaliru Alhassan said, “Tuberculosis today, remains an epidemic in most parts of the world, causing the deaths of nearly one-and-a- half million people each year, mostly in developing countries. Nigeria ranks 11th among the 22 high burden countries that account for 80% of the Global TB burden, the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the 2013 Global TB Report estimated that a total of 180,000 TB cases occur annually in the country. However, the recently concluded National TB prevalence survey has revealed that the actual burden of TB in the country is about three times higher than the current WHO estimates and 5 times more than what is being notified by the programme.”
According to the minister, the burden of the disease in Nigeria is further made worse by the negative effects of the interactions between TB and HIV. TB is the most common life-threatening disease and the number one killer among people living with HIV (PLHIV).
In his view, “the Federal Ministry of Health as part of our efforts in addressing these deadly interactions have provided leadership in strengthening collaboration and effective provision of TB/HIV services across the country. Added to that, this has resulted in an increase in the proportion of TB patients screened for HIV over the years from 10% in 2006 to 89% in 2013, with concomitant increase in the number of co-infected patients accessing Cotrimoxazole Preventive Therapy (CPT) from 30% in 2008 to 87% in 2013 and Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) from 17% in 2008 to 76% in 2013. Our target is to ensure universal access to joint TB/HIV services across the country.”