TB: Nigeriavranked highest in Africa, fourth globally ••
Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, on Monday, raised the alarm that Nigeria has been ranked highest country in Africa with high rate of tuberculosis (TB).
Nigeria, according to him, was also ranked fourth among the six top countries with high rate of tuberculosis across the globe, coming after Indonesia, China and Russia.
Adewole disclosed this at the commissioning of Chest Clinic and TB laboratory equipment worth over N4.7billion, as well as launching of standard procedure laboratory manual at Southwest TB Referral Laboratory, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
The projects were sponsored by Agbami Conventurers in the Agbami Field, comprising Star Deepwater Petroleum Limited, Famfa Oil Limited, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Statoil Nigeria Limited and Petroleum Brasileiro.
Adewole said the situation was made worse because about 80 per cent of TB cases in Nigeria remained undiagnosed, while only one out of six cases were being diagnosed, which represents threat to the health of Nigerians.
The minister, who commended the sponsors of the project, described the fight to curb the spread of tuberculosis in Nigeria as a collective one, saying: “Many countries that have recorded improvement in the socio-economic indicators have invested in health. If you look at Malaysia, Thailand, many of them, you will see an improvement in their health indicators and reduction in mortality and referral mortality before they record improvement in their social economic indicators.
“This is another reason why investment in health is a win win. Then, keying into preventing TB is a must for all of us. TB remains an epidemic and this morning (yesterday), we were at the TB Hospital in Ibadan. The message clearly is that all of us must work together to really put the tag on TB, that this is a disease that is preventable.
“About 80 percent of our TB cases remain undiagnosed. We are only able to diagnose roughly one out of six, in order words, there are five out of six cases out there undiagnosed and they represent threat to our own health.
“Because when you stay with somebody who has a TB person and you did not know, you can easily acquire the TB. So, we need to really put a lot of noise, a lot of emphasis, educate the public that TB is there, real, and working together, we can diagnose and treat TB and it is curable. And the treatment is free, so you don’t even have to pay.”
Adewole explained that TB could be diagnosed easily “and it is treatable and curable. Nigeria is one of the top six countries in the world with high TB rate. We are number one in Africa. In fact, we are number four in the world; I think second to Indonesia, China and Russia. So, we are there in a black position. We must work together to change the narrative about TB. So, working together will enable us to make the correct diagnosis.”
Chief Medical Director of UCH, Prof. Temitope Alonge, noted that the equipment would help tremendously in transforming the treatment of tuberculosis in the country, adding that the equipment have “everything you can talk of in diagnosis of tuberculosis. The staff are well trained and the patients are important to them. Henceforth, the story about treatment of tuberculosis would not be the same again.”
Managing Director, FAMFA Oil Limited, Modupe Alakija, represented by Mr. Femi Adejumobi, said all the co-venturers have completed several projects and have continued to
implement more projects to improve healthcare delivery across the country and provide economic development for both the young and old.
Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Sam Otuonye, who represented the director of one of the donor company’s co-venturers, said the laboratory were meant to help enhance healthcare delivery in the teaching hospital.
“We believe in the principle of doing the right things the right way, using the right tools. To effectively adhere to this principle requires a good grasp of procedures. It is for this reason that we sponsored the production of the National Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Tuberculosis Laboratory Diagnosis and the National Guidelines on Biosafety for Tuberculosis Laboratories.”