Tuberculosis is a bacterial-caused chronic infectious disease that primarily affects the lungs. When someone with the untreated, active form of tuberculosis coughs, speaks, sneezes, spits, laughs microscopic droplets are released into the air. These Droplets spread the disease from person to person. As a result, You can contract tuberculosis from someone with whom you live or work.
Certain factors can make you more susceptible to the disease. They include a weakened immune system. it renders the human body incapable of defending itself.
Similarly, overcrowding and poor ventilation in prisons, immigration detention centers, and nursing homes raise the risk of infection. Not to mention the COVID-19 pandemic that has hampered TB patients’ access to treatment.
Tuberculosis Situation in Nigeria:
According to recent reports, Nigeria has the highest TB burden in Africa. It is the world’s sixth worst-affected country. This is alarming and unacceptable. Given that the disease is losing ground in most other parts of the world, it reveals a flaw in the healthcare system.
During World Tuberculosis Day commemoration, the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) expressed renewed concern about Nigeria’s high TB burden. They claimed that the country is sitting on a keg of gunpowder. The Country records 440000 new infections each year.
Nigeria’s continued ranking in the TB index rate is a sad and shameful reflection of the country’s healthcare system. TB is spreading in Nigeria rather than declining as it has elsewhere. According to the statistics, Nigerian experts identified 207 000 new tuberculosis cases last year. And 300,000 unattended cases of tuberculosis in the country each year are not detected or reported. the carriers keep transmitting the disease to others. The NTBLCP warned that one untreated case of tuberculosis can infect up to 25 people. And that only 27% of Nigerians are aware that they have the disease.
The discovery of 207 000 new cases of tuberculosis in 2021 casts doubt on the effectiveness of the control measures outlined in the National Strategic Plan for Tuberculosis Control.
What needs to be done?
TB causes the loss of millions of workers every year. It deprives families and the Nigerian economy of the fruits of their labor. As a result, tuberculosis remains a public health concern that the country cannot afford to overlook.
There should be a public awareness campaign to educate Nigerians about tuberculosis. It should tell them about how to prevent the disease. And what they need to do to cure if detected early.
There is a need for a better working relationship between the media and the health sector. They should get together to educate citizens about TB prevention and treatment. They should set up camps providing free treatment.
The world has committed to ending the tuberculosis epidemic by 2030. Nigerian actions should match the rhetoric, which requires more dedication and commitment. To improve access and early diagnosis, the government should expand diagnostic platforms. Individuals and parents must assume personal responsibility for their own and their children’s health.