“Nigeria has highest burden of tuberculosis, HIV in Africa”

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Nigeria has been described as a country with the highest-burden for tuberculosis (TB), Human Immuno Deficiency Virus (HIV) in Africa, and third among the high burden nations for TB in the world.

Bauchi State Commissioner of Health, Dr Aliyu Maigoro revealed this on Wednesday during a press conference on the occasion of 2021 World Tuberculosis Day. The event, organized by the Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Malaria (BACATMA) is in collaboration with Breakthrough Action for Social and Behavioral change.

The commissioner noted that tuberculosis is one of the eight global health campaigns anchored by the World Health Organization (WHO), adding that it remains an epidemic in many parts of the world and causes deaths of nearly 1.5 million people each year, especially in developing countries.

“Nigeria is ranked third among the high burden countries and first in Africa with high burden for tuberculosis (TB), Multi-drug Resistant TB and TB/HIV. Nigeria is among the 10 countries that account for 77 per cent of the global gap in TB case finding and contributes nine per cent to the global gap between TB incidence and notified cases,” he uncovered.

According to him, in 2019, an estimated nine million people developed tuberculosis and 1.4 million died from the disease globally.

Maigoro said that in 2020, Bauchi state detected and notified 4,430 tuberculosis cases stating that out of the 4,082 cases detected in 2019, at the end of their treatment last year, 93 per cent were successfully treated.

He defined tuberculosis as a chronic infectious disease caused by ‘mycobacterium tuberculosis’ that commonly affects the lungs pointing out that it can also affect all organs in the human body and be transmitted from one person to another through droplets from the throats and lungs of people with the disease.

The commissioner, however, explained that the Bauchi State Government through BACATMA has made significant progress in terms of tuberculosis control, saying there are currently 570 free treatment centres, 127 diagnostic centres, and 12 ‘GeneXpert’ machines which are the latest machines for diagnosing both the drug-sensitive tuberculosis bacteria and the drug-resistant strain of the bacteria that cause a multidrug-resistant form of tuberculosis.

The commissioner promised that series of activities including a phone-in tuberculosis radio program, combined free tests for TB, HIV, and malaria outreach and rallies would be conducted within the Bauchi metropolis to create awareness on the disease.

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