The World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed concern over the rising cases of Tuberculosis (TB) in Nigeria, which has risen to three times what was initially estimated. Out of the estimated 3,700 TB cases per year in Nigeria, only about 500 have been placed on treatment. The WHO Country Representative to Nigeria, Rui Gama Vaz, disclosed this at the formal launch of the National Strategic Plan for TB Control (2015-2020) and Dissemination of the First National TB Prevalence Survey Report in Abuja.
He regretted that: “Nigeria is now the 3rd highest TB burden country in the world and the 1st in the Africa Region. With the current 16% TB cases notification rate, the Nigeria’s TB treatment gap has also become the highest, accounting 15% of the global gap. “The survey also confirmed a worrisome situation with regard to Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB). Nigeria is now the 13th highest MDTR-TB burden country globally and the 2nd highest in the African Region, with estimated 3,700 cases per year, of which only up to 500 have ever put on treatment.
Speaking, the Supervising Minister of Health and Minister of State for Health, Khaliru Alhassan, said until recently, the burden of TB in Nigeria was based on estimates and that it was heart-warming that his ministry, with the support of development partners, successfully conducted the first national TB prevalence survey in the country. According to him, “based on projections from the survey result, Nigeria diagnosed and reported only 16% of the estimated TB cases in 2013. With this very low TB case detection rate, the country accounted for 15% (about 500,000) of the 3.3 million TB cases that were either not diagnosed or diagnosed but not notified in 2013.”