A new report released by the Nigeria Thoracic Society (NTS) has revealed that Nigeria ranks high among 22 countries with severe cases of tuberculosis worldwide and the highest burden in Africa.
The statistics also showed that a third of the world’s population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and there is a new infection every second.
The disclosure was contained in a release issued yesterday in Uyo by the President of the Nigerian Thoracic Society, Professor Etete Peters, to mark this year’s World Tuberculosis day with the theme, “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-Free World.’’
He said TB remains the world’s leading infectious killer, being responsible for the deaths of nearly 1.7 million people each year and representing the ninth leading cause of death globally.
‘’The day is an occasion to mobilise political and social commitment for further progress towards eliminating TB as a public health burden’’.
The theme of World TB Day 2018 – “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world”- according to him, focuses on building commitment to end TB, not only at the political level with heads of state and ministers of Health, but at all levels from mayors, governors, parliamentarians and community leaders, to people affected with TB, civil society advocates, health workers, doctors or nurses, NGOs and other partners.
All can be leaders of efforts to end TB in their own work or terrain.
Professor Peters, who was the immediate past Chief Medical Director (CMD) of University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) said TB affects the economically productive age group in the community, thereby affecting productivity.
More worrisome according to him, is the fact that about one in three people with TB are never diagnosed and in Nigeria, the proportion of missed cases is as high as 50 per cent. This means they will not be treated and they will continue to transmit the disease in the community.
Professor Peters said that the focus of this year’s war against TB, comes in line with the Sustainable Development Goals set by the End TB Strategy and the Global Plan to End TB, 2016-2020, aiming to eliminate TB by 2035.