• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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One Nigerian dies of tuberculosis every 5 minutes — NTBLCP

Tuberculosis

At least one person in Nigeria dies from Tuberculosis (TB) every five minutes, the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), disclosed on Tuesday,  noting that Nigeria alone accounts for 23 percent of the death burden in Africa.

Laraban Shehu, National Coordinator of NTBLCP who disclosed this at the 2024 Pre-World TB Day Press Conference in Abuja, with the theme “Yes! We can end TB”, decried that Tuberculosis have killed more Nigerians than COVID-19 even though it is preventable and has a cure.

Shehu, said an estimated  97,900 people died of Tuberculosis in Nigeria in 2022; while 424,000 died in the entire Africa. In addition, Nigeria recorded a total 479, 000 TB cases in the same year and 2.48 million cases were recorded in Africa.

The coordinator expressed concerns that this burden of TB is borne significantly by Nigerians, explaining that 71% of people with TB face catastrophic costs as they spend over 20% of their income on treating Tuberculosis.

Shehu, while calling for more action to eradicate TB, highlighted some gaps that need to be addressed including the huge TB funding gap and high level of donor dependency .

While noting that 70% percent of the TB budget is not funded, he expressed concerns that a significant portion of the remaining 30% is funded by donors.

The coordinator also noted that thousands of cases go undetected every year. Among children, he said only an estimated 23% of childhood TB cases are detected and the remaining 77% go undetected, and consequently without treatment, which often results in death.

Bethrand Odume, the executive director, Chair, 2024 NationalTB conference,  while also speaking, explained that this this year’s theme highlights the urgent need to come together and ramp up the fight against TB, to achieve commitments to end TB by 2030.

“The theme also centres on the increased engagement of those affected by TB, communities and civil society who are leading the movement towards ending this disease, and the progress made in research and development — many new TB diagnosis tools, shorter, more efficient treatment and preventive regimens as well as several vaccines in phase 3 clinical trials”, he added.

“The time to accelerate all efforts towards ending TB is now more than ever before. We all need to sustain the progress we have made in recent years in finding the missing TB cases, by scaling up key proven strategies while sustaining advocacy efforts to improve funding” he further said.