Written by Williams ABAH

Nigeria records 15% increase in TB cases in 2020 – WHO

The Country Representative of the World Health Organization, WHO, to Nigeria, Walter Molombo, has said that despite the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Tuberculosis, TB, control programme in Nigeria, the country recorded a 15 per cent increase in TB case notifications in 2020.

Mulombo made this known at the launch of the Unified TB campaign in Abuja. The launch in commemoration of the 2021 World Tuberculosis Day, celebrated on March 24 every year to raise public awareness about the health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

It was gathered that Nigeria recorded a 15 per cent increase in TB case notifications in 2020 compared with the previous year. The theme of this year World TB Day 2021 is “The Clock is Ticking’ and Nigeria’s localised slogan is ‘That cough fit be Tuberculosis not COVID, check am o.’

According to WHO, the theme of this year’s TB is a wake-up call for Nigeria to accelerate TB response to reach the set targets in the 2021-2025 National TB Strategic Plan.

It was learnt that Nigeria remains one of the 30 countries globally with the highest burden of the disease. Nigeria also ranks first in Africa in the number of undetected cases.

Statistics from the WHO show that every year, around 245,000 Nigerians die from TB, and about 590,000 new cases occur. Out of these number, around 140,000 are also HIV-positive.

Mulombo said about 70 per cent of the TB budget in 2020 were unfunded, posing a major threat to the country efforts in achieving the set targets.

He explained that many people are pushed into poverty when they contract TB due to lost income, transport costs and other expenses. He said 71 per cent of TB patients in Nigeria and their household are affected by catastrophic cost due to TB.

According to the country representative, TB remains one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide and the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent, ranking

above HIV/AIDS.

He noted that Nigeria is far from achieving the targets set to diagnose and treat over a million TB cases before 2022.

 

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