‘70 per cent of Nigerians ignorant of TB’

The National Coordinator of the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), Dr. Adebola Lawanson, has said more efforts should be made to raise the level of awareness and information about Tuberculosis (TB) in Nigeria.

She said all hands should be on deck to make the country join the league of countries such as India and Indonesia that are Tuberculosis free, by 2030.

“More still needs to be done to raise the level of awareness and information about the disease, as 70 per cent of Nigerians are still ignorant of Tuberculosis,” she added.

She said: “TB is a major public health problem in Nigeria. According to the 2019 Global TB report, Nigeria is ranked 1st in Africa and 6th  globally among the 30 high TB burden countries and also among the 14 countries in the world with the triple high burden of TB, HIV associated TB and Drug resistant TB (DR-TB). Every hour 18 Nigerians die of TB, which is a disease that is preventable and curable.

“There is therefore the need to scale up the level of awareness of TB among Nigerians, as only about 30 per cent of Nigerians are aware of TB control and preventive methods.

“This year’s theme – ‘It is time to end TB in Nigeria’- was carefully chosen and all efforts are directed towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of ending TB by 2030.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO), in line with the SDGs, set a target of 2030 to end the TB epidemic. In order to accelerate towards this goal, a lot of efforts have been put in place.

“We have just 10 years towards the end of 2030. So a lot still needs to be done. The slogan for this year is: ‘Check that cough, time no dey”.

Minister of Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire said Nigeria is among the few countries to begin the use of child-friendly medicines for drug resistant DR-TB after development.

Said he: “In line with the End TB Strategy, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), with the support of partners, has made some strides in the fight against Tuberculosis in Nigeria. We have adopted rapid diagnostic tools as well as child-friendly medicines for drug susceptible and drug resistant TB (DR-TB).

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