Nigeria: Tuberculosis - Nigeria Has 'Sixth Highest Burden Globally'

Tuberculosis treatment unit, Federal Medical Centre, Keffi, Nasarawa State.

Nigeria has the highest TB burden in Africa and ranks at number six in the world, the Deputy Director, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), Ahmad Muhammad, has said.

He said Nigeria is also one of the top seven countries who account for 64 per cent of the total burden of Tuberculosis (TB) globally.

Speaking at a press briefing organised ahead of the 2019 National TB Conference in Abuja on Tuesday, Mr Muhammad noted that the disease is still a public health problem globally and Nigeria is not an exception.

The National TB Conference, with the theme, 'Building Stronger Partnerships to end TB in Nigeria' will hold in Abuja on July 17 and 18.

Representing the National Coordinator, NTBLCP, Adebola Lawanson, Mr Muhammad said seven countries accounted for 64 per cent of the total burden globally, with India bearing the brunt, followed by Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa.

"Nigeria has the highest TB burden in Africa and ranks sixth in the world. Equally, Nigeria and India accounted for 48 per cent of global TB deaths among HIV-negative people and 43 per cent of the combined total TB deaths in HIV-negative and HIV-positive people," he said.

He said the NTBLCP, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO), USAID, Global Fund and other non-governmental Organisations are putting in a lot to end TB in the country.

Mr Muhammad stated that the National TB conference is an opportunity to bring together think tanks in the TB world, to rub minds together and exhibit laudable innovations.

In his remarks, the chairperson of the board, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Lovett Lawson said that about $312 Million will be needed to meet the target of ending the scourge of TB in the country by 2030.

Mr Lawson also said there is a need for the government to increase its current budget for Tuberculosis by 76 per cent, if Nigeria is to end the disease burden by 2030.

He lamented that the funds gotten from the government and international donors was only 24 per cent, leaving a funding gap of 76 per cent.

Mt Lawson said if TB must become a thing of the past, there is the need to explore other sources of funding, especially from corporate bodies and rich individuals.

"TB, presently, is a major public health problem, with 8-10 million new cases diagnosed yearly, which translates to one third of the world population, with about 95 per cent cases in developing countries.

"The rate of TB decline, which was currently about 1.5 per cent would have to increase dramatically to about 10 per cent globally by the year 2025, in order to meet the 2030 target of ending TB worldwide," he said.

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