Nigeria has the highest Tuberculosis burden in Africa and ranks at number six in the world, the deputy director, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, Ahmad Muhammad, has said. According to him, Nigeria is also one of the top seven countries with India bearing the brunt, followed by Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan and South Africa who account for 64 per cent of the total burden of Tuberculosis (TB) globally.
Speaking at a press briefing organised ahead of the 2019 National TB conference in the capital Abuja, Mr Muhammad noted that the disease is still a public health problem globally and Nigeria is not an exception. “Nigeria has the highest TB burden in Africa and ranks sixth in the world. Equally, Nigeria and India accounted for 48 per cent of global Tuberculosis deaths among HIV-negative people and 43 per cent of the combined total Tuberculosis deaths in HIV-negative and HIV-positive people,” he said.
Mr Muhammad further stated that the National TB conference is an opportunity to bring together think tanks in the TB world, to rub minds together and exhibit laudable innovations.
WHAT IS TUBERCULOSIS?
Tuberculosis or commonly known as TB, is a contagious infection that usually attacks the lungs. It can also spread to other parts of the body, like the brain and spine. A type of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes it. In the 20th century, TB was a leading cause of death in the United States. Today, most cases are cured with antibiotics. But it takes a long time. You have to take meds for at least 6 to 9 months.
SOME KEY POINTS ABOUT TUBERCULOSIS
- The World Health Organization estimates that 9 million people a year get sick with TB, with 3 million of these “missed” by health systems.
- TB is among the top 3 causes of death for women aged 15 to 44.
- TB symptoms (cough, fever, night sweats, weight loss, etc.) may be mild for many months and people ill with TB can infect up to 10-15 other people through close contact over the course of a year.
- TB is an airborne pathogen, meaning that the bacteria that cause TB can spread through the air from person to person.