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”8 in 10 tuberculosis cases undetected in Nigeria”

Nearly eight out of every 10 cases of tuberculosis go undetected, according to the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP). Addressing a briefing in…

Nearly eight out of every 10 cases of tuberculosis go undetected, according to the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP).

Addressing a briefing in Abuja on Monday ahead of the 2017 World TB Day, national coordinator of NTBLCP, Adebola Lawanson, said, "In 2016, Nigeria notified less than 20 percent of the total TB cases estimated for that year."

"Therefore more than 80 percent of TB cases in the country are undetected, implying there are lots of undiagnosed TB cases in the community which serve as reservoir for continued transmission of TB."

The federal health ministry has declared 2017 a year to accelerate finding of TB cases amidst concern it is among 10 countries that account for 77% of missing TB cases globally.

It plans to increase the number of TB cases detected by three fold relative to 2016 level.

Nearly 500,000 out of 3million missing cases of TB worldwide were in Nigeria.

Nigeria notified only 6 percent of 67,000 TB cases in children in 2015.

Lawanson said Nigeria’s declaration "aims at mobilising political commitment and resources from all levels of government and partners for the implementation of strategic TB case interventions for early TB case finding and prompt treatment."

Diagnosis is available at some 318 sites using GeneXpert technology nationwide.

But Dr Gidado Mustapha, director of KNCV, which partners the federal health ministry in TB control, treatment and prevention, cited data indicating 52% of health workers have no knowledge of TB.

Only 30 percent of Nigerians are aware of TB, he added, noting that there was a need for increased awareness.