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FG laments multi-drug resistant, HIV-associated TB in Nigeria 

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Osagie Ehanire


The Federal Government has expressed concern that Nigeria is on the list of 14 countries with triple burden of tuberculosis (TB), human immunodeficiencyvirus (HIV)-associated TB and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

The government said drivers of TB burden in Nigeria included under-nutrition, HIV, diabetes, smoking and alcohol use, with over 400,000 estimated TB cases in 2019. 

However, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said low TB case detection remained a major challenge in control efforts in Nigeria, with the country only detecting 27 percent of the estimated incident cases. 

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The global health body observed that the undetected TB cases could further constitute pool of reservoir that fuels on-going TB transmission in the community, as one undetected infectious case is able to infect between 12 to 15 people per year.

Speaking at the 2021 World Tuberculosis Day in Abuja, Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, said Nigerians between the age of 15 and 44 were most affected by TB morbidity and mortality, with over 150,000 estimated deaths in 2019.
 
He said TB remained a major public health problem globally and, due to Nigeria’s large population and prevailing socio-economic determinants of health, “Nigeria is ranked first in Africa and sixth globally in the 2020 World Health Organisaton (WHO) Global TB Report, among the 30 high TB burden countries. 

Ehanire said government intended to scale up TB service provision, including TB preventive treatment in public and private facilities, as well as in communities and integrate services into Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N) services and non-communicable disease control, among others. 

Ehanire was represented by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunmibe Mamora.

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said interventions to improve access to TB services included number of installed GeneXpert machines expanded from 32 in 2012 to 403 currently, with an additional 102 machines expected; TB reference laboratories increased from 6 in 2010 to 11 currently;iii. TB treatment (Directly Observed Treatment Short-course) centres in public and private facilities expanded from 3,931 in 2010 to 17,699 in 2020;

WHO Representative, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo said TB was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide and the leading cause of death from a single infectious agent (ranking above HIV/AIDS), adding that there were an estimated 10 million people with TB in 2019 globally with Nigeria and seven other countries accounting for two thirds of the global total. 

He lamented that TB control budgets in Nigeria has continued to be drastically underfunded.

“Tuberculosis is curable and treatable; I implore anyone coughing for two weeks or more to go for TB test in the nearest health facility.  Ladies and Gentlemen of the press kindly spread this news around. Together we can end TB epidemic in Nigeria,” he said.

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