Tuberculosis cases: Nigeria sixth globally

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… Zamfara tops with 20,997 cases

… 500,000 killed yearly in Africa – WHO

A GLOBAL tuberculosis analysis report released yesterday shows that Nigeria ranks number one in Africa and sixth among a group of 30 countries with high TB burden in the world.

  The report also shows the country maintaining the position among another group of 14 countries with triple high TB burden. It estimates that about 429,000 people have TB in Nigeria.

  This was made known by the  Zamfara State Commissioner of Health, Yahaya Abubakar Kanoma, at a press conference to mark World Tuberculosis Day 2021.

  According to the report, so far in 2012,  Zamfara has 20,997 people who have tested positive to tuberculosis out of which 2,542 were confirmed TB cases in 2020 across the state

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  Though his ministry partners with colleagues around the world to meet the global target of ending the TB in 2030, the commissioner urged all to join hands with the state to adopt a multi-sectorial approach towards TB control.

  According to him, the state alongside its partners has expanded its TB treatment centres from 244 to 326, including all private health, with TB diagnostic centres also increased from 147 to 173.

  In a related development, more than 500,000 people are lost in Africa to tuberculosis yearly.

  A release issued yesterday by World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, to mark the World TB Day 2021, which was held under the theme: The clock is ticking said that the figure is an indictment on health authorities in the continent.

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  According to him, across Africa, the challenges in TB prevention and control are significant with only 56 per cent of people with the disease on treatment amid underfunded TB control policies.

  “Governments in the African region are contributing 24 per cent of these budgets on average and international organisations like the Global Fund are providing 34 per cent, leaving a 42 per cent funding gap. South Africa has the highest domestic funding in the region, at 77 per cent. For instance, in South Africa, monthly notifications of new TB cases fell by more than 50 per cent between March and June 2020. In some countries, TB staff and testing equipment were reallocated to the COVID-19 response.

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At the same time, some mitigation measures were introduced, such as limiting the need for TB patients to visit health facilities by providing one month’s worth of TB medicines and using video messaging to continue with directly observed treatment.

There is also the rising challenge of drug-resistant TB, which is estimated to affect 77,000 Africans each year. Among these, only one in three are diagnosed, and around 20,000 are put on treatment,” he said.

  Moeti further condemned some auguries of COVID-19 that have compounded difficulties in accessing TB services since last year.

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