Director of Public Health at the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Chukwuma Anyaike, has announced that Nigeria has successfully fulfilled the UN Tuberculosis (TB) control mandate established in 2018. This disclosure was made during the Pre-United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) on TB National Stakeholders’ Consultation held in Abuja on September 7, 2023. As a result of the 2018 UNHLM, Nigeria adopted the Political Declaration on the Fight against the disease in September 2018.
Dr. Anyaike, who was represented by Dr. Urhioke Ochuko, Deputy Director overseeing the Childhood Tuberculosis Unit, revealed that Nigeria had committed to implementing this declaration to attain the specified goals. He disclosed that Nigeria had increased the identification and treatment of cases. “We have detected more than 285,000 cases, achieving 60 percent of the target in 2022,” he said. He added that the country has taken significant steps to reinforce its healthcare infrastructure, including training healthcare professionals and establishing additional treatment centers.
Milestones attained and challenges faced in the fight against it in Nigeria.
Despite being among the top ten countries with the highest TB burden globally, Nigeria has made commendable progress in addressing this public health challenge. According to the director of public health, while the country has increased the detection and treatment of cases, trained more healthcare workers, and established more treatment centers, preventive treatment for Nigerians has notably improved since 2018. The Federal Government has also demonstrated increased political commitment to control the disease by allocating additional funding in collaboration with partners.
Commenting on the challenges to overcome in trying to control the disease in Nigeria, Dr. Anyiake mentioned insufficient funding, low detection of child cases, and limited enrollment of diagnosed DR TB patients in treatment programs. He urged participants at the event to explore the possibility of increased investment in the treatment of the disease and innovative financing strategies to align with various interventions in progress. As well, a participant, Mr. Mayowa Joel, the Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership, emphasized the significance of the 2023 UNHLM special session, which offers an opportunity to comprehensively review the political declaration.
There has been an increase in survival rate in the country.
Even though TB is the second-leading infectious disease all over the world, experts at the World Health Organization (WHO) expect that by 2025, there will be a 50 percent reduction in the number of incidence rates globally with 2015 as the base year. Its report in 2022 showed a ten-percent reduction in incidence rates from 2015 to 2021. Death-to-TB recorded a 5.9-percent reduction rate within the same period. However, Nigeria statistics show improvement in some areas against increasing situations in other countries. Ranked sixth nation with the highest number of cases globally, Nigeria contributed 4.4 percent to the total cases worldwide.
Nigeria experienced an increased incidence of the disease from 2000 to 2021, increasing from 269,000 to 467,000. The number of these incidents kept increasing steadily over years. Fortunately, there has been an increase in its survival rate in Nigeria over the last six years. According to WHO data, even though there has been a corresponding increase in the incidences and deaths of the disease, with a decline in deaths from 2019 to 2021, more victims have survived the disease in Nigeria. In 2015, 39.96 percent are those infected with it. The country recorded 403,000 incidences and 157,000 deaths.
Survival rate of the ailment increases by 67% in 21 years.
The proportion declined steadily from that point up to 2021 when 467,000 cases and 125,000 deaths were reported. The result is a death-to-infection rate of 26.77 percent. So, the survival rate has increased from 9 of 20 infected cases in 2000 to 15 of 20 in 2021. This represents a 67-percent decline over the period. Nigeria effort to eradicate TB has been rigorous across the country. In the South West, daily routine activities are deployed to combat the disease. The medical director/program manager of Global Funds for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (GFATM), Dr. Dairo Diola, affirmed this.