An estimated 138,000 new cases of tuberculosis were recorded in Nigeria last year, according to the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme.
The programme’s national coordinator Chukwuma Anyaike made the disclosure on Saturday during a media conference ahead of this year’s World TB Day observed every 24 March.
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Dr Anyaike said Nigeria ranked first in Africa in the burden of TB, and is also among the 30 high burden countries with the disease globally.
He said there was an urgent need for everyone to increase efforts towards tackling the burden of the disease.
“TB is curable, we have hope if we do the right thing to arrest the menace of TB .
“But I must warn that TB is not a respecter of any person whether rich or poor because it cuts across all strata of life but is more with those with reduced immunity or nutrition and terminal diseases.
“So all hands must be on deck if we must achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and also join other countries in achieving Universal Health Coverage.”
The slogan of this year’s commemoration, in Nigeria is ‘ That cough, e fit be tuberculosis, not COVID-19, check am o!’. The theme is ‘The clock is ticking: sound the alarm’.
Vice chair of the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr. Queen Ogbuji said, “We now more than ever we need redoubled efforts to raise awareness and ambitious commitments to mobilize the very needed resources to help achieve the UN high-level mission target of ending TB by 2022.”
She said world leaders have till December 2022 to live up to their promise of ending TB or risk losing thousands of lives to the curable and preventable disease.
“The clock is ticking for all stakeholders to unite towards achieving the political declarations on achieving TB targets,” she said.
Country Director of the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, Dr Bethrand Odume called for more investment in TB funding in Nigeria, noting that there was a 70 % gap in TB funding at the end of 2019.
He said the federal government was responsible for only 7% of the TB funding while USAID provides 23 % of the funding.
He called on Nigerians to get tested for TB adding that because of the stigma associated with COVID-19, and the similarities between COVID-19 and TB, many people deny they have a cough and shy away from health facilities