… Kills No Fewer Than 18 Hourly



By Ngozi  Onyeakusi

As Tuberculosis (TB) continue to claim lives of Nigerians amounting to no few than 18 every hour, National Tuberculosis, Burulli Ulcer and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), has
cautioned that early detection is paramount.

The Deputy Director, NTBLCP in the Federal Ministry of Health, Itohowo Uko, while making presentation at a one day sensitization workshop organised by Breakthrough Action -Nigeria in collaboration with the Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN), urged Nigerians to submit themselves to medical test once they cough for two weeks.



Uko while making  presentation


She defined TB as an airborne infectious disease caused by the germ Mycobacterium tuberculosis that affects the lungs.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) 2017 global report, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide and Nigeria is classified among the 14 countries with high burden of TB. ”It is estimated that two out of every 1,000 Nigerians will have TB; 104,940 TB patients representing about 20 per cent of existing patients were notified to the authorities in 2017.

“ This means that there is a huge number of TB patients in communities that are not notified. ”No fewer than 18 Nigerians die every hour of TB and one case of untreated TB can infect between 10 and 15 persons per year. ”Nigeria has the sixth highest burden of TB patients globally and first in Africa; of the 104,904 patients notified in 2017, 63 per cent were aged between 15 and 44; the working age group is the most affected, ”
Uko pointed out TB is spread through the air when the person with TB of the lungs coughs, sneezes sings or talks adding persistent cough for two weeks or more duration may be due to TB and needs to be further investigated.

She presented others signs of TB of the lungs to include , loss of weight when one is not trying to lose weight, drenching night sweats when others close by are not sweating like that and loss of appetite.

Noting prompt TB treatment and cure is the key, she said that TB is curable adding that a patient is not infectious after few weeks on treatment.

On how to present the disease, Uko cautioned that there was need for ventilation while in the bus, office or other public places.
She assured that the motive behind NTBLCP was to ensure a Nigeria free of TB, zero TB deaths, and a reduce the burden and impact of TB, drug-resistant TB, and TB/HIV on Nigeria.
a Even as She opined that NTBLCP was set achieve a 50% reduction in the TB prevalence rate and 75% reduction in the TB mortality rate (excluding HIV) in Nigeria by 2025.
Consequently, she called on the media work towards achieving the set objective.
Earlier in her remarks, the Deputy Director, Malaria and Tuberculosis project, Breakthrough Action-Nigeria Dr Bolatito Aiyenigba, opined that the project focused on Integrated Health Social Behaviour Change in the country.

Aiyenigba highlighted maternal, neonatal , child health , as well as nutrition, family planning, malaria and tuberculosis as its areas of focus. She also said that the project had helped to build media capacity in the reportage of malaria, family planning, nutrition and tuberculosis.

“Health is a general concern and the media has a role to play in educating and informing the public on the need to adopt healthy lifestyles and reduce the high prevalence of diseases in the country,’’ Aiyenigbe said.