600,000 new cases of TB in Nigeria, by agency
THE National TB and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) has said that over 600,000 new cases of tuberculosis have occurred in Nigeria, according to the survey conducted in 2014, with 91,354 cases placed on treatment.
National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, Dr. Gabriel Akang who made this statement during the 2015 World TB Day with the theme ‘Nigeria Unites Against Tuberculosis, in Abuja, said the World Health Organisation (WHO) ranked Nigeria to be 3rd among the 22 highest prevalence of TB burden countries in the world, adding that DOTS services are currently provided in about 6000 health facilities in the country and diagnosis in 1,515 microscopy laboratories.
Akang noted that the Programme also adopted new molecular technology called GeneXpert that would enhance universal access to Drug Resistant to TB patients, noting that the machine is able to diagnose TB and RIF resistant TB within two hours. The National Coordinator also stated that the programme had commenced community DR-TB services to initiate treatment in the community, stressing that this has helped in mopping up backlog of cases, which could not be admitted as a result of limited bed space.
Meanwhile, United Nations humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos has approved $28 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to support life-saving relief work for people fleeing violence in Nigeria.
More than 1.2 million Nigerians have fled their homes as a result of Boko Haram-related violence, which escalated dramatically since the start of 2015. Over 150,000 people have fled to neighbouring Cameroun, Chad and Niger, putting a further strain on some of the most vulnerable communities in the world.
“The insurgency in the northeast of Nigeria is having a devastating impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people,” said Amos, the emergency relief coordinator. “This allocation from CERF will be used to support people in the most vulnerable communities who have been directly affected by the violence. It will provide urgently needed humanitarian relief including food, clean water, shelter, medicine, protection and security, particularly for women and children who are exposed to or have experienced violence and brutality.”
According to a statement by the National Information Officer, United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Oluseyi Soremekun last Thursday: “Given the urgent need to scale up humanitarian operations and assist those in need across affected countries, a regionally coordinated $28 million rapid-response allocation will go to relief agencies operating in Nigeria ($10 million), Cameroun ($7 million), Niger ($7 million) and Chad ($4 million).
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Linus Awute, said TB is curable and the current efforts to find, treat and cure everyone who gets ill with the disease are not sufficient, adding that in line with global aspiration in ensuring all cases of TB are detected and offered care.
Awute said: “Given the desire to eliminate TB globally, I consider the theme of this year’s World TB Day as very apt. It calls on government at all levels, partners, individuals, families and communities and private sector to unite in the fight against tuberculosis.”
Minister of Health, Dr. Khaliru Al-Hassan, stated that in line with the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan which is committed to providing equitable access to diagnosis and treatment for drugs-susceptible and drug-resistant to TB cases, adding that the NTBLCP and National Agency for the Control of Aids (NACA) in collaboration with partners have increased capacity for diagnosis if TB among persons living with HIV (PLHIV) and drugs-resistant TB through the installation of 98 GeneXpert MTB/RIF machines across the 36 states and FCT.