BREAKING NEWS: WHO raises concern over fresh cases of TB in Nigeria

WHO raises concern over fresh cases of TB in Nigeria

WHO raises concern over fresh cases of TB in Nigeria

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Every five minutes, a death certificate is issued for a disease that is preventable and curable but accounts for 97, 900 deaths in Nigeria.

This is according to the World Health Organisation, WHO, which has again raised concerns over the increasing number of tuberculosis cases in the country.

The global health agency worries that Nigeria continues to account for 23 per cent of TB deaths in Africa, with only about 50 health facilities in the country able to offer TB services.

Warning that about 40 per cent of TB cases are still missing, are active in communities and stand as modes of continuous transmission, the TB Programme Officer at the WHO, Dr Amos Omoniyi, said one infected person can infect 12 other people.

Omoniyi gave an overview of the TB burden in Nigeria at a press conference ahead of World TB Day on Tuesday, noting that over 71 per cent of Nigerians spend their life savings on TB even when treatment is free.

Dr Omoniyi said: ”Awareness of the nature of the disease, the fact that it is preventable and curable is still very low. TB is caused by bacteria and not witchcraft; this traditional belief has fueled transmission, so people need to know that it is just a medical condition and not a curse or a spell.

”A lot of cases are still being missed and most communities do not have access to treatment centres because there are no funds to support such centres. There’s still a huge funding gap, most funds come from international donors and 70 per cent of the TB budget for Nigeria is not funded. The Nigerian government needs to step up.”

WHO, however, expressed optimism that if Nigeria is able to control TB, Africa will, in turn, have the capacity to get rid of the disease.

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