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Health News of Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Source: www.premiumtimesng.com

Nigeria may report 200,000 Tuberculosis cases by end of 2021 - Minister

Minister of health, Osagie Ehanire Minister of health, Osagie Ehanire

Nigeria could be recording up to 200,000 Tuberculosis (TB) cases by the end of 2021, the Minister of health, Osagie Ehanire, has said.

Me Ehanire said this at the ongoing 2021 national tuberculosis conference in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said nine months into 2021, Nigeria has already surpassed the number of TB cases notified in 2020 by seven per cent.

“Nine months into this year 2021, Nigeria has already surpassed the total number of TB cases notified in all of 2020 by about 7 per cent and for the first time, Nigeria could be notifying up to 200,000 TB cases by the end of 2021.

“I like to commend all who are making this happen, including our partners WHO, Global Fund, USAID and other USG agencies and their partners, KNCV, Stop TB partnership, the TB network, community based organisations, and health workers who are the foot soldiers, for their hard work in the fight to end TB in Nigeria,” he said.

TB notification is the process of reporting diagnosed TB cases to relevant health authorities, which in turn report them to the World Health Organisation (WHO) through National TB Programmes (NTPs) or their equivalent.

TB conference

The National TB conference is organised by the Stop TB partnership in Nigeria and the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP).

The theme of the conference is “Sustaining a resilient TB response in Nigeria; Addressing the impact of COVID-19 and other diseases”.

The Acting Board Chairman, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Ayodele Awe, said the conference aims to galvanise action towards ending TB in Nigeria and across the world.

He said participants at the three day conference would deliberate on the way forward for TB elimination.

TB menace & COVID-19

Mr Ehanire said TB is one of the oldest infectious diseases that the world including Nigeria has resolved to eliminate.

TB is a contagious disease that is caused by a bacterium (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that often affects the lungs. Nigeria remains one of the 30 countries globally with the highest burden of TB.

Although TB is one of the vaccine-preventable diseases which is also curable, statistics from the WHO shows that every year, around 245,000 Nigerians die from TB, and about 590,000 new cases occur (of these, around 140,000 are also HIV-positive).

Data released by ‘Stop TB Partnership’ in March shows that global treatment and diagnosis of TB cases witnessed a drastic decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has infected millions of people worldwide.

Mr Ehanire also noted that the advent of the pandemic impacted many aspects of human endeavor, including health services.

He explained that the pandemic brought 2020 global case finding levels back to 2012 level, with an 18 per cent reduction in the number of patients diagnosed with TB dropping from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million in 2020.

This, he said, set global case-finding efforts back by 8 years.

He said Nigeria recorded a 30 per cent reduction in GeneXpert testing in the first week of the lockdown, the number of notified TB cases also dropped by 17 per cent from 33,119 TB cases in Q1, 2020 to 27,353 in Q2,2020.

He said this drop necessitated the implementation of innovative interventions to ensure programme sustainability and mitigate impact on TB control efforts.

“The implementation of which resulted in an eventual 15 per cent increase across the country, in the number of TB cases notified from 120,266 TB cases in 2019 to 138,591 TB cases in 2020, making us one of the few countries that recorded increased in TB notification in 2020, despite the pandemic,” he said.

Collaborations

In her remarks, Nigeria’s First Lady, Aisha Buhari, and Global Tuberculosis Ambassador, urged all stakeholders to work together to eliminate the disease in Nigeria.

Represented by the First Lady of Niger State, Amina Bello, Mrs Buhari said a multi-sectoral approach and effective coordination are needed to tackle the disease.

Mrs Buhari said that despite TB being curable, Nigeria still loses citizens to it.

She noted that with the help of the governors’ wives, more awareness are being created on TB, particularly in the rural areas.

Also speaking at the event, WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Walter Molumbo, commended thecountry’s efforts towards the elimination of the disease.

Mr Molumbo said as a technical partner, WHO will be supporting the National TB programme at all levels required.

He said this include the development of guidelines, adoption of new strategies, regimen, and interventions in addition to building capacities and enhancing data analysis and use for optimising performance.

“We will also support the country in the implementation of the multisectoral approach towards ending the TB epidemic in Nigeria,” he said.

He said the gathering of intellectuals at this year’s TB conference provided the country with an opportunity to come up with best practices and innovative ideas for ending the TB epidemic.