By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
A huge number of tuberculosis patients in Nigeria’s communities is not notified to the authorities.
Itohowo Uko, Deputy Director, National Tuberculosis, Burulli Ulcer and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) disclosed this finding in Lagos while elaborating on the burden of TB in the country.
She said 18 Nigerians die of TB every hour.
According to her, Nigeria is classified among the 14 countries with burden of TB.
Uko also pointed out that TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
“Tuberculosis otherwise known as TB,” she explained, “is an infectious disease caused by the germ Mycobacterium Tuberculosis that affects the lungs mainly but may affect any other parts of the body.”
According to World Health Organization (WHO) 2017 Global Report, it is estimated that two out of every 1000 Nigerians will have TB, Uko stated.
Despite the enormity of burden of TB in Nigeria, Uko assured that the disease is completely curable if detected and treated early.
“The drugs and diagnostic tests are free of charge in Nigeria,” she stressed, adding that there is urgent need to increase early TB case finding, notification and treatment.
Low TB case finding, low TB treatment coverage, low awareness on TB and TB services among the general population, dwindling donor funding, and inadequate government funding at all levels, the FMoH official narrated, are the challenges faced by NTBLCP in tackling the burden of TB in Nigeria.