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World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday disclosed that the efforts of the stakeholders involved in the fight against Tuberculosis (TB) in Nigeria has begun to yield the expected result given the fact that TB cases has been on a steady decline trend.
WHO Country Representative, Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, while confirming the development at the 2021 National TB conference in Abuja, on Tuesday, however, admitted that TB remain a major public health problem globally and is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
Dr. Mulombo who was represented by Mr. Chimbaru Alexander, said: ‘An estimated 9.9 million people developed TB in 2020, with Nigeria having the highest burden of TB in Africa and accounting for 4.6 per cent of the Global TB burden according to WHO Global TB report 2021.
‘The emergence of COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the progress made towards ending TB epidemic. There was a large global drop in number of people newly diagnosed with TB, from 7.1 million in 2019 to 5.8 million people in 2020.
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‘A total of 16 countries accounted for 93 per cent of this reduction. Nigeria was not among these countries. It was rather among the few countries that recorded an increase in TB notification with the notification increasing by 15 per cent in 2020.’
He congratulated Nigeria for the achievement, adding that about 70 per cent of the estimated TB cases in the country in 2020 were not detected despite the increase in TB notification, and the undetected TB case continued to fuel the spread of the disease in the community.
He pledged that WHO being a technical partner will continue to support the National TB programme at all levels in terms of guideline development, adoption of new strategies, regimen and interventions, in addition to building capacities and enhancing data analysis and use for optimizing performance.
He added: ‘We would also support the country in the implementation of the multisectoral approach towards ending TB epidemic in Nigeria.’
He said the gathering of intellectuals at 2021 TB conference provide the country with an opportunity to come up with best practices and innovative ideas for ending the TB epidemic.
He thanked the National TB Programme, the Stop TB partnership and all stakeholders for putting the conference together.
Meanwhile, the National Coordinator, Stop TB Partnership, Prof Abdullahi Alkali Abba, in his presentation explained that TB diagnosis, treatment and prevention service in Nigeria are within the context of progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK