‘Nigeria has high tuberculosis burden’
Nigeria is ranked fourth behind India, Indonesia and China as one of the six countries that account for 60 per cent of the total global tuberculosis (TB) burden estimated in 2015 as 10.4 million new cases. Nigeria is closely followed by Pakistan and South Africa.
Also, according to “Global Tuberculosis Report 2016” published over the weekend by the World Health Organisation (WHO), an estimated 1.8 million people died from TB in 2015, of whom 0.4 million were co-infected with Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV).
According to the report, although global TB deaths fell by 22 per cent between 2000 and 2015, the disease was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2015, responsible for more deaths than HIV and malaria.
The new data showed that countries needed to move much faster to prevent, detect and treat the disease if they are to meet global targets.
It noted that investments for TB care and prevention in low- and middle-income countries fall almost $2 billion short of the $8.3 billion needed in 2016 and that this gap will widen to $6 billion by 2020 if current levels of funding are not increased.
According to the report, around 84 per cent of the financing available in low- and middle-income countries in 2016 was from domestic sources, but mostly accounted for by the BRICS (Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa) group of countries.
It noted that other low- and middle-income countries, including Nigeria, continue to rely heavily on international donor-financing, with more than 75 per cent coming from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Besides, WHO estimates that at least an extra $1 billion per year is needed to accelerate the development of new vaccines, diagnostics, and medicines.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, said: “We face an uphill battle to reach the global targets for tuberculosis. There must be a massive scale-up of efforts, or countries will continue to run behind this deadly epidemic and these ambitious goals will be missed.”