Dr Osagie Ehanire, Minister of State for Health, on Thursday says there are an estimated 10.4 million cases of Tuberculoses worldwide.
He stated this at the commissioning of projects at the National Tuberculoses and Leprosy Training Centre, Zaria, Kaduna State.
Ehanire said: “TB is today still a serious public health problem in many parts of the world, causing the death of nearly one-and-half million people each year, most of them in developing countries.
“The 2017 WHO global TB Report tells us that there are an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases worldwide, of which 5.9 million (56%) are men and 3.5 million (34%) are women with 1 million (10%) being children.
“Nigeria is among the six countries accounting for 60 per cent of new cases globally. Nigeria also ranks fourth among the 30 highest TB burden countries in the world and first in Africa.
“The impact of this terrible disease is worsened unfortunately by the deleterious effect of the interaction between TB and HIV in a patient.”
He described TB as the most common life-threatening diseases and the number one killer among people living with HIV.
Ehanire lamented that the emergence of a drug-resistance type of TB which challenge TB control in Nigeria had compounded the problem.
However, the minister assured that the present administration through the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with development partners was taking bold steps to check TB in Nigeria.
He enumerated some of the steps to include the intervention of modern GeneXpert MTB/RIF technology as the primary tool for detecting TB cases among presumptive sufferers in the population.
He said: “The machine is expected to markedly increase the number of TB cases diagnosed in the country.
“We are ensuring integration of care for TB into the core package of the Revitalisation Agenda of Primary Healthcare Centres in the country.
“This is to bring effective healthcare service closer to the people and so provide ease of access and increased patronage of TB and other services.”
He added that there was scale up in-country access to quality-assured Drug Resistance TB diagnostic and treatment services.
Ehanire said: “This led to 18 Functional Treatment Centres at RHE end of 2017 and nine Referral Laboratories located at the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research, Lagos, University College Hospital, Ibadan.
“Other places are: Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Kano; Jos University Teaching Hospital, NTBLTC, Zaria; Federal Medical Centre, Yola and Univeristy of Port-Harcourt Teaching Hospital, among others.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the minister was primarily invited to commission a National External Quality Assurance Laboratory at Saye, among other projects.
NAN also reports that the laboratory owned and managed by Medical Science Laboratory was constructed by the National External Quality Assurance in partnership with the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria.
The Acting Registrar, Medical Laboratory Science Council, Dr Tosan Erhabor, assured the readiness of the council to supporting government policies and programmes toward a healthy nation.
Erhabor urged staff and beneficiaries to ensure proper use of the facilities to stand the test of time.
The Principal, NTBLC, Zaria, Dr Labaran Shehu, advised people to visit TB centres for early detection and treatment of the disease in ease of consistent cough for two or more weeks.
While assuring that TB is curable, the principal said diagnoses and drugs were available free-of-charge in all DTS centres nationwide.