67,603 TB patients on treatment in Lagos, eight other states – Official

Agency

The Programme Manager, State Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control, Dr Ibrahim Umar, has revealed that no fewer than 67,603 tuberculosis patients are currently on treatment in nine states, including Lagos, as of March 31, 2024.

He disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos.

Umar listed the states to include Kano, Bauchi, Benue, FCT, Lagos, Osun, Oyo, Nasarawa and Katsina.

According to him, Nigeria has the highest number of TB patients in Africa, with many undiagnosed and undetected patients.

According to the World Health Organisation, tuberculosis is a contagious and potentially life-threatening infectious disease that mainly affects the lungs.

The disease is caused by a bacterium called Mycobacterium tuberculosis that spreads from person to person through the air when people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit.

The health agency noted that is needed for a person to inhale only a few germs to become infected, adding that every year, 10 million people fall ill with tuberculosis.

The programme manager added that in spite of being a preventable and curable disease, 1.5 million people die from TB each year, making it the world’s top infectious killer.

Umar said that there was a low awareness programme of the disease, despite the existence of free diagnosis and treatment programmes.

He said that a large percentage of TB patients across project states cannot afford the adequate nutrition required to sustain treatment adherence.

Umar further said that a large number of TB Directly Observed Therapy centres were dilapidated, and the majority of identified Collaborative Ocular Tuberculosis centres were inadequately equipped with testing equipment.

He called for strategic collaboration with the private sector to upgrade and reactivate DOT sites in project states.

Umar acknowledged that Nigeria had made substantial progress in TB control, stressing that more effort was required to meet the global target of ending TB by 2030.

”The Nigerian government set a 50 per cent target for domestic funding for TB by 2025 against a baseline of eight per cent in 2019.

”Currently, we are below 20 per cent as at the end of 2023, showing that we are far from our target with only one year left”, he said.

Umar said funding for TB was affected by over-dependence on foreign donors, coupled with shrinking resources and sub-optimal participation of the private sector in domestic resource mobilisation for response.

He added, “The reason why we have this burden is that in the last few years, our population has almost tripled and also the number of patients that have TB.

”The number of equipment and resources that we have is not keeping pace with that number.

”Government alone can’t handle all the problems. Partners and other international organisations alone can’t handle all the problems.”

He emphasised that active participation from the private sector would strengthen TB response and put the country on track to eliminate the disease by 2030.

(NAN)

 

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