Tuberculosis claims 5,000 lives daily, says WHO

Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Dr. Sani Aliyu

40 per cent of deaths in persons with HIV in Nigeria linked to TB

Ahead of the World Tuberculosis Day (WTD) today, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched new tuberculosis (TB) ethics guidance, even as it said the disease claims 5,000 lives daily.

The WHO in a statement yesterday, said the new guidance aims to help ensure that countries implementing ‘End TB’ strategy adhere to sound ethical standards to protect the rights of all those affected.

The apex United Nations health body said more than a third (4.3 million) of people with TB go undiagnosed or unreported, some receive no care at all and others access care of questionable quality. It also announced that the first ever global ministerial conference on ending TB will be held in Moscow in November 2017.

Also, the National Agency for Control of AIDS (NACA), yesterday, said TB and Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) pose serious challenges to the Nigerian Health sector as well as other similar resource limited settings.

NACA in a statement, said about 40 per cent of deaths in People Living With HIV (PLWHIV) has been linked to TB and in recent years, an estimated 1.2 million PLWHIV have died from complications arising from TB.

Director General of NACA, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said TB and HIV control programmes are intrinsically-linked and have many things in common, therefore, a collaborative effort backed by a coherent and robust approach at national and sub-national levels by government and partners will go a long way towards tackling the deadly twin scourge and ensuring a healthy TB- and HIV free generation.

Also, another report published in Saudi Journal of Health Sciences noted: “TB is a major public health problem in Nigeria with an estimated prevalence of 616 cases per 100,000. Nigeria ranks first in Africa, and fourth among the 22 high TB burden countries in the world, and no fewer than 460,000 cases of TB are reported annually in Nigeria.”

According to the WHO, the heaviest burden is carried by communities which already face socio-economic challenges: migrants, refugees, prisoners, ethnic minorities, miners and others working and living in risk-prone settings, and marginalized women, children and older people.

WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan, said: “TB strikes some of the world’s poorest people hardest. WHO is determined to overcome the stigma, discrimination, and other barriers that prevent so many of these people from obtaining the services they so badly need.”

World TB Day is an opportunity to mobilize political and social commitment for further progress in efforts to end TB.

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