ANAMBRA State has the highest number of cases of Childhood tuberculosis (TB) in Nigeria, according to the Programme Manager of the Anambra State Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Management, Ugochukwu Chukwulobelu.
Chukwulobelu disclosed this on Thursday, April 20, at a stakeholders’ engagement organised by the Federal Ministry of Health, in partnership with the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation and Breakthrough Action Nigeria, in Awka.
According to Chukwulobelu, Nigeria ranks number six in the world and number one in Africa, with every local government having tuberculosis cases.
He described tuberculosis as an airborne disease caused by a bacteria called “Mycobacterium tuberculosis”, which usually attacks the lungs and could also damage other parts of the body.
“Anambra has the highest burden of TB drug resistance cases and childhood TB contribution in the South-East and Nigeria. This is not a good thing for the state,” the programme manager said.
He noted that the government is planning to set up 14 laboratories with gene Xpert machines for diagnoses to reduce the rate of the disease in the state.
The planned project will be carried out in collaboration with the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP)
“We have about 800 Directly Observed Treatments (DOTS) Centres for TB, but the major problem is lack of awareness among residents about TB, its diagnosis and treatment,” he said.
Persistent cough for two weeks or more, fever, unexplainable weight loss and drenching night sweats are signs used to screen patients.
“Residents should report suspected cases of TB within their communities. TB patients should also adhere to their treatments to prevent drug resistance TB cases which are even more dangerous.
“Everyone has a role to play to reduce the burden of the disease.”
Findings have shown that tuberculosis is a prevalent disease in Nigeria.
The country is among the 30 high TB burden countries globally and has the highest number of cases in Africa, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The problem of TB in Nigeria has been made worse by drug-resistant TB and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The report suggests that TB kills 18 Nigerians every hour.