A Tuberculosis (TB) expert Lovett Lawson said every one hour, about 18 Nigerians die from tuberculosis.
He said that unfortunately, despite significant progress made over the last few years, every hour, 18 Nigerians still die of TB; a disease that is preventable and curable. “It is on this basis that Stop TB partnership Nigeria is working with other partners to complement the efforts of the government to end TB in Nigeria.”
Lawson, who is a Board Chair for Stop TB partnership Nigeria made this known at a Pre world TB Day press conference held in Abuja yesterday.
He said Nigeria has the highest burden of the disease in Africa and third highest burden in the world after India and Indonesia.
He lamented that over 75 percent of Nigerians with the disease are yet to be diagnosed or receiving any form of treatment.
This, he blamed on the lack of awareness about the disease among the communities and the social stigma attached to those diagnosed with the ailment.
He said though in recent times, Nigeria has been improving its efforts to finding the missing cases, but those cases yet to be detected are more than those reported. This he said is very important because the missing cases are risk to those who are yet to get infected.
Lawson advised that Nigerians who have been coughing for more than two weeks need to visit the health facilities.
“We also want to use this opportunity to call on the president, Muhammadu Buhari, to accelerate TB response and keep the promise made on TB at the UN meeting in New York last year.
The president had joined other Heads of states at the first ever UN high level meeting in September 2018 to accelerate TB response in countries to end TB. There Buhari had pledged to commit to ending TB in Nigeria.
The World TB Day is celebrated every March 24 to raise awareness about the health, social and economic consequence of the disease and to step up efforts to end the epidemic.
According to Global TB report, TB causes ill health for approximately 10 million people each year.
Similarly, Adebola Lawanson, the National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis Buruli Ulcer and Leprosy Control Programme said the disease though preventable and curable is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.