What Nigeria must do to prevent more deaths from tuberculosis


TB remains one of the world’s deadliest disease and every day, about 4,100 people die, while 30,000 people fall ill from the disease.

Ahead of the 2022 World Tuberculosis Day (WTBD), health experts have called on governments at all levels to invest more in Tuberculosis (TB) to eradicate the disease in Nigeria.

The experts said adequate investment will prevent people from dying from TB, a vaccine-preventable and curable disease.

Speaking during a pre TB day conference in Abuja on Friday, acting board chair of the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Queen Ogbuji, said the country still accounts for 70 per cent funding gap in TB.

Ms. Ogbuji said of the N150 billion ($373 million) needed for TB control in Nigeria in the year 2020, only 31 per cent was available to implementers.

She said about seven per cent of the money released came from the Nigerian government, while 24 per cent came from donors, leaving behind a funding gap of 70 per cent.

She noted that the low levels of funding for TB response year after year is no longer acceptable.

Ms Ogbuji said more investment would save millions of lives and accelerate the end of the TB epidemic.

She lamented that TB remains one of the world’s deadliest diseases and every day, about 4,100 people die, while 30,000 people fall ill from the disease.

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that often affect the lungs.

It is spread from person to person through the air. When people with TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.

Nigeria ranks sixth amongst 30 countries globally with the highest burden of the disease. Nigeria also ranks first in Africa in the number of undetected cases.

Despite TB being a vaccine-preventable disease, statistics from the WHO show that every year, about 245,000 Nigerians die from TB, and about 590,000 new cases occur (of these, around 140,000 are also HIV-positive).

TB is the number one infectious killer disease in the world and also among the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

One-quarter of the World’s population, approximately 1.9 billion people, is infected with TB.

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The Executive Director of KNCV TB Foundation Nigeria, Bethrand Odume, said Nigeria still accounts for 4.6 per cent of the global infections.