An Non-Governmental Organisation, Development Communication Network (DEVCOMS) has called on Nigerians to protect their family members from the menace of Tuberculosis (TB).
DEVCOMS Program Director, Mr Akin Jimoh, who made the call on Sunday in Lagos, said everybody must be in the forefront to find and treat TB cases.
The call was made in commemoration of the World TB Day marked annually on March 24 with the 2019 theme, ‘It’s Time’.
“All Nigerians need to be concerned about the menace of TB and must all be in the forefront to find and treat TB cases in the country. We did it for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and now the cases are on the downward spiral; we need to help ourselves to find and treat TB,” he said.
Jimoh said that World TB Day was a great opportunity to raise more awareness among people on the need to end a curable illness.
According to him, TB kills 18 Nigerians every hour and 4,500 people globally every day.
“It is estimated that 407,000 people in Nigeria have TB each year; this is the estimated number of HIV negative people that have the disease.
“In addition there are an estimated 63,000 HIV positive people that get TB each year. An estimated 115,000 HIV negative people die from TB in Nigeria each year and an estimated 39,000 HIV positive people also die.
“It is difficult to appreciate what it means for 154,000 people to be dying each year, “ the director said.
He said a 2017 Global TB Report, revealed that Nigeria was among the 14 high burden countries for TB, TB/HIV and Multi-Drug Resistant-TB, ranking seventh among the 30 high TB burden countries and second in Africa.
He added that 47 Nigerians developed active TB; seven of which were children, every hour.
“One of the major challenges of TB response in Nigeria is attributed to low TB case finding both in adult and children. This is attributed partly to poor knowledge about TB that influence the health seeking behaviour of people, and low TB treatment coverage.
“This is why the theme for this year’s World TB Day, “It’s Time“, is enjoining the young, old and all stakeholders involved to come together to take action to make Nigeria a TB free country,“ Jimoh said.
According to WHO, about one-third of the world’s population has latent TB; meaning people are infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot transmit the disease.
“People infected with TB bacteria have a 10 per cent lifetime risk of falling ill with TB.
“However, persons with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a much higher risk of falling ill.
“In 2017, about 1.7 million people including over 250,000 children globally, died of TB-related causes. Over 95 per cent of TB deaths occurs in low and middle-income countries especially in Africa,“ WHO said.