By Stellamaries Amuwa
The minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewale has said that Nigeria emerged 7th amongst the high TB burden countries globally and second in Africa, which has further underscored the need for concerted efforts towards the reduction of the burden of the disease.
Adewale made this known at a symposium on tuberculosis themed: “Raising Future Leaders To end TB in Nigeria,” yesterday in Bingham University Karu, Nassarawa State.
According to the minister, who was represented by the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Clement Uwaifo, Nigeria is one of the countries on the list of 30 high burden TB, TB/HIV and MDR-TB countries as compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO). He added that the Federal Ministry of Health as part of its efforts to coordinate and control TB in Nigeria established the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme in 1989. “As you may be aware the TB control strategies in Nigeria since the inception of TB have been in consonance with all the WHO recommended strategies.
The new WHO End TB strategy for the control of the disease was adapted by the country in 2016 with the goal of ending TB epidemic in Nigeria. Presently research discoveries has made available a WHO approved rapid TB diagnostic tool with higher specificity and sensitivity”.
Similarly, the chair Stop TB Partnership Nigeria and Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, Bingham University Karu, Prof. Lovett Lawson urged stakeholders to create more awareness about TB, by increasing funding for TB activities, ensure access to TB treatment and support people that are on treatment for TB among many others.
Lawson said, “No doubt we continue to make tremendous progress in the fight against TB as a nation, with significant improvement in early diagnosis and treatment especially with the adoption and increasing use of GeneXpert machines in most centres and availability of drugs for those infected all over the country. However, there still remains a huge burden of TB in Nigeria, of the global deaths, Nigeria is far worse affected than any other country in Africa”.
The wife of Nasarawa State governor, Dr Mairo Tanko Al-Makura, in her goodwill message, said, TB is preventable and treatable although it continues to be a life threatening disease in Nigeria, with prevalence in young people who are at the most productive age.
“We ask for your cooperation in fighting this disease to a stop”.