Government expresses concern over spread of tuberculosis in Nigeria

PHOTO: Doctors Without Borders

Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole has expressed concern over the rate of tuberculosis (TB) in Nigeria disclosing that the country has the highest rate of infection in Africa and fourth in the world.

The Minister spoke at the commissioning of a multi-million-naira TB laboratory equipment and Standard Procedure Laboratory Manual donated to the University College Ibadan (UCH) by Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited and its co-venturers in Agbami field – Famfa Oil Limited, Famfa Oil Limited, Statoil Nigeria Limited and Petroleo Brasilero Nigeria Limited. Adewole regretted that about 80 per cent of TB cases in Nigeria are undiagnosed thereby making treatment difficult. He said, “About 80 percent of our TB cases remain undiagnosed. We are only able to diagnose roughly one out of six. In other words, there are five out of six cases out there undiagnosed and they represent threat to our own health because when you stay with somebody who has a TB and you did not know, you are unknowingly at the risk to the infection.

“So, we need to really put a lot of noise, a lot of emphasis to educate the public that TB is there, real, and working together, we can diagnose and treat TB and it is curable”, he said.

Thanking Agbami field for their investment in Chest Clinic and for supporting treatment of TB, the Minister noted that the state of the art laboratory equipment commissioned would be of tremendous help to improve in diagnoses.

Director, Star Deepwater Petroleum Limited, Mr. Richard Kennedy who was represented by the Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs of Chevron Nigeria Ltd disclosed that Agbami field had spent about N4.7b to provide 25 Chest Clinic and equip 33 Science Laboratory in Nigeria between 2008 and 2015. He said, “The laboratory equipment we are donating today is meant to help enhance healthcare delivery in this foremost hospital and benefit Oyo State and the nation at large. Additionally, we are launching the standard procedure manuals to aid understanding, knowledge and informed delivery of laboratory health services.”

Kennedy added: “To effectively adhere to this principle requires a good grasp of procedures. It is for this reason that we sponsored the production of the national Standard Operating Procedures for tuberculosis laboratory diagnosis in Nigeria and the national guidelines on biosafety for tuberculosis laboratories.”

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