NTS urges govt to step up control measures to curb TB

PHOTO: yourgenome.org

PHOTO: yourgenome.org

The Nigerian Thoracic Society (NTS) has raised the alert that Nigeria ranks high among the 22 countries with highest burden of tuberculosis (TB) globally and urged the government to step up control measures to checkmate the disease.

According to the President, NTS, Prof. Peters Etete, tuberculosis is the single commonest infectious disease worldwide with an estimated nine million cases and 1.5million deaths annually.

He said, “Rates of TB are increasing rapidly in Africa, in parallel with the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immune Deficiency Virus (AIDS) epidemic. Nigeria ranks high among the 22 countries with highest disease burden globally. Though TB is a medical disease, it has a lot of socio economic confounders.

“The presence of the HIV/AIDS pandemic has further led to the increase in the occurrence of TB. The problem has been further compounded by the emergence of multi-drug resistance and even more recently the extensively drug resistant TB.

“Globally up to half a million people developed multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), with extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) reported by 100 countries. There is slow progress in tackling drug-resistant TB – three in four drug-resistant TB cases remain without a diagnosis. TB affects the economically productive age group in the community, thereby affecting productivity.”

He noted that more worrisome situation is the fact that about one in three people with TB are never diagnosed, saying this means they will not be treated and will continue to transmit the disease in the community.

He said, “Every March 24th of each year, the world marks the discovery of the organism that causes tuberculosis by Robert Koch in 1882. This year’s theme is Unite to End TB. Of the estimated over nine million TB cases globally in 2013, only 5.7 million were reported to various national TB programme.”

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