About 250,000 Nigerians die from Tuberculosis yearly

About 250,000 people die annually in Nigeria as a result of tuberculosis, the Federal Government has said.

It also stated that among the 22 countries that accounted for 80 per cent of TB cases, Nigeria was number four, coming only behind India, Indonesia and China.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said this during the 2015 World Tuberculosis Day organised by the Agbami Co-Venturers, the Federal Government and other development partners in Abuja on Thursday.

Adeowle, said, “Today, tuberculosis remains an epidemic in different parts of the world, leading to annual deaths of nearly 1.5 million people mostly in developing countries. In Nigeria, it is estimated that we record quite close to 250,000 deaths every year.”

He noted that a 2015 health report showed that of the estimated 9.6 million TB cases globally, only six million cases had been detected, making an estimated 3.6 million cases either not diagnosed or diagnosed but not reported.

The minister said, “Of this group, Nigeria accounts for 15 per cent of the gap in TB case notification. The implication is that one out of six cases of TB is only detected and five out of six roam around undetected. In other words, everybody is not safe.”

He stated that there were some key areas to focus on in addressing the burden of TB, stressing that one of such had to do with the emergence of drug-resistant TB and its impact on the country’s control efforts.

Another area of focus, he said, was the negative effect of the interaction between TB and HIV, especially as regards TB’s role as the number one killer among people living with HIV.

“Of the 250,000 TB death cases recorded, one-third have HIV infection,” Adewole said.

He added  that the resource gap needed to address the scourge of the disease was also a challenge to the health ministry, stressing that this was a huge constraint.

“For instance in 2015, only 32 per cent of the $228m required was released, leaving a funding gap of $155m,” he said.

Adeowle noted that funding for the control of TB was appropriated in the 2016 budget, adding that “in the 2017 budget, I promise you that we shall increase our funding support for tuberculosis.”

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