Remembering World TB Day (WTD), today, the World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned that measures to end tuberculosis by 2030 are in peril, as the sickness still stands as one of the world’s most fatal contagious illnesses.
The World Health Organization, in a report, said: “Every day, nearly 4400 people die because of TB and approximately 30,000 people fall sick with this avoidable and remediable condition. International measures to fight TB have rescued evaluated 74 million people since 2000. The COVID-19 pandemic doubled with issues across Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, and socioeconomic unfairness, has rebounded years of development made in the fight to end TB. In its current Global Tuberculosis Report, WHO emphasized that for the first time in over a decade, TB occurrences and deaths have risen.”
Addressing the public during a road walk to mark WTD in Abuja, the Director of the Federal Ministry of Health’s Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, Ahmad Muhammad Ozi, said Nigeria has a large number of missing issues of TB and accounts for about 400, 000 cases of TB yearly.
Nigeria is among the 14 high-burden countries for TB, TB/HIV, and Multi-Drug Resistant TB, and the country is ranked sixth among the 30 high-TB-burden countries internationally and 1st in Africa.
WTD is annually marked on March 24 to enlighten the public about TB and actions taken to end the global widespread illness, remembering the day in 1882 when the bacterium that caused TB was discovered.
WTD 2023, with the theme ‘Yes! We can end TB!’ seeks to encourage hope and motivate high-level administration, improved investments, speedier usage of recent WHO suggestions, adoption of inventions, revved effort, and multi-sectoral partnerships to combat the TB epidemic. This year is crucial, with chances to increase clarity and political dedication at the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting on TB.
The limelight of World TB Day will be on encouraging nations to increase development in the build-up to the 2023 UN High-Level Meeting on TB. WHO will also administer a call to action with allies, encouraging Member States to hasten the launch of the latest WHO-suggested more straightforward all-oral restorative regimens for drug-resistant TB.
Ozi said: “We are considering completely ending Tuberculosis by 2030, but as it is, we still have a long way to go in Nigeria because from what we had in the previous year, we were able to report over 280, 000 new issues out of 400, 000. We have covered up to 40 percent of the information rate, so we still have a long way to go. We will try; as much as we can to get the Tuberculosis reaction agenda to the closest minimum. From the guidelines of the Federal Government, we are working to guarantee that Tuberculosis is prevented from communities in the nation. TB is a treatable sickness, and we have set aside some of the procedures that can influence TB control in Nigeria. For example, the identification of TB in every community in Nigeria is free. The guideline also notes that the antidote for the sickness is also free.”
The Deputy Project Director of Tuberculosis – Breakthrough Action Nigeria, Bolatito Aiyenigba remarked that there is a movement to end tuberculosis universally and encouraged Nigerians to get examined because it’s free.
Ayenigba said: “We believe we can end the disease because there is a joint measure globally to convert ideas into science in order to do away with the sickness. With help from associates, the Federal Government has made a great step to get the latest instruments and relevant diagnostic materials and let the people know that these things are there.
“For a long time in Nigeria, examining for TB has been free, but because many people don’t know, they are suffering in silence. To handle that, the federal agenda has formed a national movement tagged ‘Check Am oo, because who no go, no go know’. The good thing with tuberculosis treatment is that it is accessible, free, and can be completely cured.”
Regional Director for WHO Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, who made the call in her statement to mark the 2023 World TB yesterday bemoaned the destructive health, social and financial effects of this avoidable disease and called for accelerated action to end it.
The WHO also announced the extended range of the WHO Director-General’s (DG) Flagship Initiative on tuberculosis over the period from 2023 to 2027 to aid in fast-tracking development towards ending TB and reaching Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2030.
Director-General of WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “TB is avoidable, treatable, and curable, and yet this old nemesis that has plagued humankind for millennia continues to cause suffering and death for millions every year.
“WHO is dedicated to helping nations to intensify their response, by boosting availability to assistance to stop, notice and cure TB as part of their action towards global health coverage, and to amplify their defenses against outbreaks and pandemics.”