• Monday, April 22, 2024
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140,000 TB cases undiagnosed, untreated in 2023 – Minister

140,000 TB cases undiagnosed, untreated in 2023 – Minister

Ali Pate, the coordinating minister of health and social welfare, on Thursday, disclosed that over 140,000 tuberculosis cases in Nigeria were not diagnosed and placed on treatment in 2023.

Pate, who disclosed this during the ministerial press briefing in commemoration of 2024 World TB Day, held at the State House, Aso Villa, raised concerns over the number of missing TB cases and highlighted the need for continued and intensified efforts to find the missing TB cases.

He also stressed the need to address other challenges such as low childhood TB & DR-TB notification, limited access to diagnostic tools, low awareness about TB in the community, and sub-optimal coverage of health facilities and communities with TB services.

Read also: Delta demands collective efforts against tuberculosis

The minister lamented that addressing the social determinants of TB, such as poverty, inequality, and limited access to healthcare, remains one of the major prongs in the government’s efforts to end TB in Nigeria

TB is a major public health problem in Nigeria and globally. According to the 2023 World Health Organisation Global TB Report, Nigeria has the highest burden of TB in Africa and the 6th highest burden globally, with an estimated 479,000 persons contracting the disease in 2022. This represents an average of one person developing TB every minute in the country. Undernutrition and HIV remain the topmost drivers of the TB burden in Nigeria.

TB continues to be the second leading cause of death from a single infectious agent and has caused almost twice as many deaths as HIV/AIDS. An estimated 97,900 TB deaths occurred in Nigeria in 2022, equating to one person dying from TB every five minutes even when the disease is curable and preventable, according to the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP).

“These indices and other sub-optimally performing health indicators are unacceptable”, the minister said.

He announced that in 2024, the government would be conducting a national drug-resistant survey through the support of USAID and partners to determine the actual burden of drug-resistant TB, which will guide targeted actions in addressing the epidemic of drug-resistant TB in Nigeria.

“Our commitment and drive to end TB in Nigeria, in collaboration with our partners, resulted in a record TB case notification in 2023, with the country notifying over 360,000 TB cases. This is the first time since the inception of the TB control efforts over 35 years ago that we crossed the 300,000 mark in TB notifications. About 98 percent of TB patients in 2023 had documented HIV status.

Read also: One Nigerian dies of tuberculosis every 5 minutes — NTBLCP

“While we celebrate this achievement, it is important to note that we are still missing a significant number of TB cases”, Pate said.

Queen Ogbuji-Ladipo, acting board chair of Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, said that the emergence of drug-resistant TB adds further complexity to the efforts to stem it, a situation that calls for urgent action at all levels to address gaps in TB detection, treatment, and prevention.

 

While commending Nigeria’s efforts in TB case finding,  Lucica Ditiu, executive director, Global Stop TB Partnership Geneva, stressed on the need to upscale local funding to fight the epidemic. She also charged wives of state governors to champion the course.

“Funding can be found smartly. Nigeria can adopt India’s strategy of partnering with the private sector to help get funds. Collaboration is key and political commitment is important”, she said

“As wives of State governments, Senators and authority figures, you must go back to your states, constituency and area of influence and start raising awareness. Government of all level should think of how to galvanize resources to help bridge the gap before 2030,” she added.