The Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) said Nigeria recorded a total of 120,226 tuberculosis cases in 2019.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire made the assertion at a news briefing in Abuja on Tuesday to commemorate the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day.
The date marks the day in 1882, when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way for diagnosing and curing the disease.
Under the theme ‘It’s Time’, the spotlight in 2020 is on urgently accelerating the TB response to save lives, end suffering, and build on high level commitments by Heads of State at the 2018 UN High-Level Meeting on TB.
Ehanire was represented by Dr Mildred Ene-Obong , the Head of Public Health, FMoH.
According to him, the total of 120,266 TB cases recorded in Nigeria in 2019 is only 28 per cent of the estimated TB cases of 429,000 for the country in the same year.
He added that the huge gap in TB case finding was much higher among children aged 0-14years with a child proportion of 8 percent for 2019.
“In the last ten years, the country has implemented various interventions to address the challenge of low case finding,” he said
The minister said that the working age group of Nigerians, 15-44 years, was most affected by
TB and TB death.
“Our 2017 National TB Catastrophic Cost survey showed that 71 percent of TB patients and affected family suffer untold financial hardship as a result of TB,” he said.
Ehanire also disclosed that the FMoH has adopted new rapid diagnostic tools and child-friendly medicines for Drug Susceptible and Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (DR-TB).
He said that Nigeria was among the few countries in the world that immediately commenced the use of child-friendly medicines for DR-TB after development.
The minister said that government has expanded diagnostic and treatment services for TB across the country.
He said that the government has increased the number of TB microscopic centres and GeneXpert machines from 32 in 2012 to 399 in 2020.
According to him, the government has also expanded TB services to 12,254 health facilities (DOTS centers) in both private and public facilities in the country for Drug Susceptible TB.
Ehanire added that the Federal Government has included TB services in the Primary Health Care minimum health care package to ensure the achievement of the universal access to care.
“There are 28 specialised DR-TB treatment centers across the country. Community DR-TB services are also provided in all the 36 states and FCT to enhance access to DR-TB treatment, care and support.
“TB preventive services and other diagnostic services are provided free of charge in these health facilities.Since 2008 till date.
“Over a million Nigerians have been successfully treated for TB. We have also recorded good case holding as evidenced by a Treatment success rate (TSR) consistently above 80 percent for the past 5 years,” he said.
The minister disclosed that government was intensifying efforts to ensure Universal Health Coverage,(UHC) with TB services.
He said that the government’s efforts in the area of TB/HIV collaboration had yielded good
results with annual proportion of TB patients tested for HIV consistently over 94 percent in the last five years.
According to him, the proportion of TB patients co-infected with HIV has dropped from 18 percent in 2014 to 12 percent in 2018.
Ehanire said that this was consistent with the report from the recently conducted
National HIV/AIDS Impact Indicator Survey (NAIIS).
He said that engagement with the private sector in the provision of GeneXpert and other TB services has yielded positive results, with the private sector having one of the best diagnostic centers in the country.
“The private sector is also contributing about 13 percent of the TB cases notified in the country.
” We are also scaling up expansion of TB services in private facilities in all 36 states and the FCT in line with our robust Public-Private Mix DOTS (PPM-DOTS) plan.
“As part of efforts to strengthen TB notification, we have introduced the National Electronic TB Management Information System (NETIMS) – a digital tool for TB case notification.
“All 774 Local Government Area TB and Leprosy Supervisors (LGA TBLS) and staff
from 370 high burden facilities have been trained on NETIMS and provided with tablets for reporting,” he said.
NAN reports that Nigeria ranks first among 30 TB High Burden Countries in the World and is Highest High Burden Country in Africa.
The TB case detection rate has only moved from 17 per cent to 24 per cent in the last five years, according to the WHO.
According to WHO, TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer. Each day, over 4000 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease.
Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 58 million lives since the year 2000.
To accelerate the TB response in countries to reach targets, Heads of State came together and made strong commitments to end TB at the first-ever UN High Level Meeting in September 2018.(NAN)