Tuberculosis Responsible For 1.5m Deaths Annually – Minister

Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole

By; SANI ALIYU, Zaria,

The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire has said that Tuberculosis is today still a serious  problem in many parts of the world, which leads to the death of nearly one-and-half million people each year, most of them in developing countries.
He stated this at official commissioning ceremony of the National Community Health Centre at Saye in Zaria.

According to the 2017 WHO global TB report  an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide, of which 5.9 million (56%) are men and 3.5 million (34%) are women with 1 million (10%) being children.

The Minister said Nigeria is among the six countries accounting for 60 per cent of new cases globally and Nigeria also ranks fourth among the 30 highest TB burden countries in the world and first in Africa.

“The impact of this terrible disease is worsened unfortunately by the deleterious effect of the interaction between TB and HIV in a patient,” he noted.

Dr. Osagie described TB as the most common life-threatening diseases and the number one killer among people living with HIV (PLHIV).

He lamented that the emergence of a drug-resistance type of TB which challenge TB control in Nigeria had compounded the problem.

Ehanire said assured that the present administration through the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with development partners was taking bold steps to check TB in Nigeria.

He enumerated some of the steps to include; the intervention of modern GeneXpert MTB/RIF technology as the primary tool for detecting TB cases among presumptive sufferers in the population.

“The machine is expected to markedly increase the number of TB cases diagnosed in the country.”

others according to him, we ensuring integration of care for TB into the core package of the Revitalisation Agenda of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in the country.

“This to bring effective healthcare service closer to the people and so provide ease of access and increased patronage of TB and other services.”

He also added that there was scale up in-country access to quality-assured Drug Resistance TB diagnostic and treatment services.

“This led to 18 Functional Treatment Centres at RHE end of 2017 and nine Referral Laboratories located at the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research, Lagos, University College Hospital (UCH) Ibadan.

“Other places are; Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital (AKTH), Kano, Jos University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), NTBLTC, Zaria, Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Yola and Univeristy of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) among others,” he noted.

The minister was primarily invited to commission a National External Quality Assurance Laboratory at Saye among other projects owned and managed by Medical Science Laboratory was constructed by the National External Quality Assurance in partnership with Institute of Human Virology.

The Acting Registrar, Medical Laboratory Science Council (MLSC), Dr Tosan Erhabor assured the readiness of the council to supporting government policies and programmes toward a healthy nation.

Erhabor urged staff and beneficiaries to ensure proper use of the facilities to stand the test of time.

Earlier in his welcome address the Principal National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Training Centre Zaria Dr. Labaran Shehu assured Nigerians that TB disease is curable and the drugs are free.
He advised people who are having cough for over two weeks to visit any TB Centre for detection and medication.


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