FG partners stakeholders to expand diagnosis and treatment of TB
As part of its bold step in finding missing Tuberculosis (TB) cases,
the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli-Ulcer Control
Programme (NTBLCP) of the Federal Ministry of Health is rapidly
expanding TB diagnostics and treatment services to move sites
across the country.
The NTBLCP National Coordinator, Dr. A. Lawanson who made this
known in the pre–world tuberculosis day press briefing on Thursday
in Abuja, in collaboration with the Stop TB Partnership, said: “OPD
screening for TB has been instituted and is currently being scaled up
to include all health facilities in the country.”
Dr. Lawanson who was represented by Dr. Emperor Ubochioma, said
that: “Nigeria is classified among countries with high burden for TB,
TB/HIV and MDR-TB and currently ranked 6th globally and 1st in
‘The country contributes 9% to the global 3.6 million missing TB
cases after India and Indonesia with 26% and 11% respectively.
“An estimated 418,000 new TB uses cases in Nigeria in 2018 and the
country notified and l06,533 cases of TB in 2017 and
2018 respectively giving a gap of 314,712 and 3l9,599 cases yet to
be notified respectively.
“This implies that a large number of TB cases are still undetected/
missing thereby constituting a pool for continuous transmission of
the disease in the community.
“The missing TB cases in Nigeria can be found among men, women
and children with different forms of TB, including drug resistant TB.
“The proportion of missing TB cases among children is more
worrisome, as the country was only able to notify 7% of the
estimated childhood TB cases in 2017.”
She however said that the major challenge is low case detection and
low levels of awareness among the populace.
The NTBLCP boss also added that, “TB diagnosis is also a challenge
as Xpert MTB/RIF assay, which is the first line test for the diagnosis
of TB in the country, has a coverage of 41%, that is, 394 machines in
315 LGAs out of 774 LGAs in Nigeria.”
Prof. Lovett Lawson, who is the Board Chair of Stop TB Partnership
Nigeria, said: “TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer. And
Nigeria is among the 30 high burden countries for TB, TB/HIV and
“Nigeria is ranked 6th among the 30 high TB burden countries in the
world and 1st in Africa. Nigeria also accounts for 8% of the global
gap between TB incidence and notified cases.
“Unfortunately, despite significant progress made over the last few
years, every hour, eighteen (18) Nigerians still die of TB; a disease
that is preventable and curable.
“To accelerate the TB response in countries to reach targets –
Heads of States including His Excellency, President Muhammadu
Buhari, came together and made strong commitments to end TB at
the first-ever UN High Level Meeting in September 2018 in New
He explained that the World TB Day 2019, which will hold on the 24th
of March, is a continuation of joint efforts to keep TB high on the
global and national agenda.
The theme of this year World TB Day – ‘IT’S TIME’ (Adapted in
Nigeria as “It’s time to end TB in Nigeria” – puts the accent on the
urgency to act on the commitments made by global leaders at the
UNHLM in New York, to: scale up access to prevention and
treatment; build accountability; ensure sufficient and sustainable
financing including for research; promote an end to stigma and
discrimination, and promote an equitable, rights-based and people-
centered TB response.
According to Dr Odume Bethrand, the Senior Programme Specialist –
TB/HIV of the United States Centre for Disease Control (CDC), “We
are looking at the funding gap which is about 24%, about N35bn as
at last year. Talking about TB case detection case in the country, we
can’t reach out there if there are no resources to support the
infrastructure, human resources, and other innovation approaches in
detecting TB cases, and even support for the patient.
“We agreed that it should be a multi-stakeholder approach;
They should focus on this rural areas mostly