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Author Topic: Nigeria: New Treatments On TB Underway  (Read 2235 times)
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Francis Umeoguaju
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« on: March 03, 2011, 01:46:47 am »


Nigeria though blessed with abundant natural and human resources is plagued with series of health problems ranging from HIV/AIDS, cancer, tuberculosis and other lung diseases.
The most worrisome thing was that the government is not doing much to address these health challenges that are threatening the lives of many Nigeria irrespective of their social status and age.
The World Health Organisation's estimation that every year, Nigeria will have about 460,000 cases of TB is enough reason for any serious government to take urgent and drastic action even as the country lacked a national health Act.
That Nigeria is ranked 4th out of the 22 countries that harbours about 75 per cent global burden of TB and with over 450,000 new cases of TB annually should not be a cheering news to any body especially to our leaders who manage the Nigerian resources on our behalf.
A recent statistics from the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme have shown that at the moment Nigeria has about 7,000 MDR-TB cases.
There are indications that Nigeria is currently facing an escalating number of Multi- Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB) cases.
A situation experts have raised concerns that if the trend is not checked immediately, there may be imminent total collapse of TB treatment that may further lead to the country settling for second line drugs that not only take longer period of treatment but are more expensive and toxic.
Nigeria has the highest TB burden in Africa.
The National Coordinator,National Tuberculosis (TB) and Leprosy Control Programme, Federal Ministry Of Health,Abuja, Dr. Mansur Kabirsaid the reason tuberculosis is a big health problem in our country is because Nigeria is also a country with the highest burden of HIV/AIDS, in sub-saharan Africa, along with South Africa.
A Director of Research, Nigerian Institute of Medical Research,(NIMR) Yaba who is also former Director General of the institute Prof. Oni Idigbe said a patient is said to have Multi-Drug Resistant TB when the patient get resistant to the two most important and potent anti-TB drugs.
An estimated 100,000 to about 150,000 in this country die annually from tuberculosis and majority of those who suffer from this falls within the age- range of 15-44.
The one and only cause of this disease is through infection by micro bacterium tuberculum which is the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis , but there are conditions that pre-dispose an individual to get infected. One of the prevalent ones in Africa is infection by the HIV/AIDS virus.
However, cheering news is underway for both patient of TB and stakeholders in TB in the country as Nigeria will play host to the 18th Conference of The Union African Region of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases.
According to Prof. Idigbe in a press briefing in Lagos, the conference which has as its theme"TB,TB/HIV and other lung diseases :challenges to the attainment of the MDGs in Africa" will hold from the 2nd through 5th of March ,2011.
The conference he stressed has been designed to address problematic areas of TB and lung diseases, particularly, MDR-TB cases and how to remove Nigeria and other African countries from the list of TB high-burden countries.

About 2,000 participants are expected to participate at the conference, which will deliberate on problems and solutions of Asthma, Pneumonia, Lung Cancer, funding for TB, Public-Private Mix, new preventive, diagnostic and curative methods to fight TB, in addition to getting awareness of new technology in the area of equipment and treatment.
He further stated that the conference will provide a forum for a scientific and community sessions to address and provide pragmatic solutions to major issues of TB,TB/HIV, Tobacco and other lung diseases in the African continent.
Using the recommendations of the WHO, efforts will now be geared towards using the Advocacy Communication and Social Mobilisation (ACSM) Strategies to detect existing active cases.
He assured that efforts were on top gear to establishing two microscopic centres and one Directly Observed Therapy Shortcut (DOTS) in each of the 774 local government areas in the country.
TB is caused by bacteria, whose treatment lasts about 6 to 8 months. The treatment is effective and a complete cure is achieved if patients adhere to the prescription and obey the order of the medical doctor.
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