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Nigeria Recorded Over 300,000 TB Cases Diagnosed In 2023 – Health Minister

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Pate TB Brazil

In a groundbreaking revelation, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Pate unveiled that Nigeria diagnosed over 300,000 tuberculosis (TB) cases in 2023, marking a record high in the nation’s history.

This significant announcement was made during the 37th STOP TB partnership board meeting in Brasilia, Brazil.

During the board meeting, the Stop TB partnership presented perspectives on TB and efforts to enhance Global Fund investments in TB, where Nigeria, alongside other countries and civil society board members, shared interventions and experiences with the Global Fund.

Pate emphasised the historical nature of this achievement, stating that “In 2023, Nigeria diagnosed over 300,000 TB cases for the first time in its history,” thereby closing the missing case gap and positioning the country to achieve its 2025 National Strategic Plan targets. He highlighted that at the 2023 UN High-level Meeting (UN HLM) on universal health coverage (UHC), Nigeria reached about 70 per cent of its cumulative target and approximately 90 per cent of the 2022 target.

Acknowledging the progress, Pate expressed the country’s commitment to attaining a 100 per cent treatment coverage rate and expanding TB preventive therapy (TPT) coverage. He mentioned ongoing efforts to document strategic initiatives and best practices to address case-finding challenges, especially in high-burden areas.

Pate underscored the crucial role of partners, including USAID, GFATM, WHO, Stop TB Partnership, CDC, DoD and civil society organisations, in the success of Nigeria’s TB control program. He recognised the dedication of programme staff, especially frontline workers, who provided TB services even during emergencies and crises.

This milestone, representing a substantial step forward in reducing the missing case gap, aligns Nigeria with global efforts to eliminate TB. Pate highlighted that the increase in TB diagnoses demonstrates Nigeria’s commitment to innovative strategies, data-driven interventions, and technologically enhanced activities.

Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria’s TB programme showcased resilience and adaptability, ensuring continued provision of TB services. Pate expressed optimism about building upon this achievement with sustained support from partners and stakeholders, contributing to the global fight against TB and fostering a healthier future for all.

The minister reported a 15 per cent increase in annual TB case notifications from 120,266 cases in 2019 to 138,591 cases in 2020, even during the pandemic when global TB notification dropped by 18 per cent. In 2021, Nigeria achieved a remarkable 50 per cent increase in annual TB notifications, reaching 207,785 TB cases in 2022.

Looking ahead, Pate highlighted Nigeria’s president’s initiative to transform the health sector through pillars like effective governance, improved population health outcomes, unlocking the healthcare value chain, and strengthening health security within Africa and globally. He emphasised the need to make TB an issue of social justice, urging a balance between people’s orientation and the development and delivery of new tools.

Pate called for investments in the healthcare value chain and the promotion of local manufacturing of diagnostics, therapeutics, and medical equipment. This, he argued, would not only advance economic evolution but also foster genuine partnerships across countries involved in the TB control campaign.

The minister concluded by inviting all participants to join Nigeria in disseminating lessons learned and best practices in addressing TB case-finding challenges at a public event scheduled for July 2024.

Recalling that TB is an infectious disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, Pate highlighted the primary symptoms, spread through the air, and the critical importance of proper treatment involving a combination of antibiotics over several months.

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