NTBLCP Flags Nigeria Among High TB Burden Countries

Tuberculosis patient
Tuberculosis patient.

As Nigeria joined the rest of the world in commemorating World Tuberculosis Day 2023, the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Programme (NTBLCP) stated that the country remains among the high burden countries for Tuberculosis.

Speaking today in Abuja on the global theme “Yes! We can end TB. Save Lives,” the national coordinator, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, emphasised the need for continuous awareness to end preventable and curable diseases like tuberculosis to address unnecessary deaths and infirmities in the country.

Anyaike called on media practitioners to extend the word ‘TB’ to ‘tuberculosis’, noting that most Nigerians were unaware of the enormous burden of the disease and its symptoms.

He stated that tuberculosis remained a significant burden in the country, which can be prevented, diagnosed, treated and cured.

The executive director, KNCV Nigeria, Dr. Bethrand Odume provided information on the 2023 activities to commemorate World Tuberculosis Day in the country. He said that training sessions for teachers in schools would increase their knowledge about tuberculosis and help them educate their students.

“Teachers,” he said “play a crucial role in educating the community about Tuberculosis and its prevention. We plan to organise training sessions for teachers in schools to increase their knowledge about tuberculosis and to help them educate their students”.

Odume, who is also the chair of the 2023 National World Tuberculosis Day Planning Committee, also stated that there would be a road show, starting from Wuse Market on March 22, 2023.

“As one of the activities for the WTBD, we plan to conduct outreaches to different area councils in FCT to increase public awareness about tuberculosis, promote early diagnosis, and encourage people to seek treatment. A ministerial press briefing will be held on March 24, World Tuberculosis Day, to raise awareness about the impact of tuberculosis on global health and highlight the importance of political commitment in the fight against tuberculosis,” he said.

He disclosed that similar activities would also be supported across the 36 states of the federation. “This year, in these states and FCT, the tuberculosis programme, working with implementing partners, will be supporting a special ‘TB Testing Week’ to drive daily community active TB case-finding activities,” he said.

Odume stated that these planned activities would help raise more awareness about the impact of tuberculosis in the country and encourage early diagnosis and treatment.

“By working together, we can make progress in the fight against tuberculosis and help create a Nigeria free of tuberculosis,” he said.

The world commemorates World Tuberculosis Day on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social, and economic consequences of TB and to step up efforts to end the TB epidemic.

TB, a disease caused by a bacterium, often affects the lungs and is identified as the number one infectious killer disease in the world and among the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

It is spread from person to person through the air. When people with TB cough, sneeze, or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.

Racheal Abujah
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