Anambra State Ministry of Health has expressed concern that Nigeria is recorded as having the highest burden of Tuberculosis disease in Africa and the fourth highest among the 22 high burden countries with an annual incidence of 338 per 100,000 and prevalence of 322 per 100,000 individuals.
The Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, who stated this while briefing newsmen in his office at Awka, yesterday, further disclosed that Anambra State and 13 other states, including FCT contribute to over 75 percent of the total TB burden in Nigeria.
According to him, the untreated infected individuals can spread the disease to between 10 to 20 persons each year within the poor population, PLWHIV and other key affected populations.
Akabuike, who disclosed that over 2000 Tuberculosis patients are currently receiving treatment at various Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) Centers in the State, also added that the 15 drug resistant cases are presently on treatment in the eight Local Government Areas of the State.
Speaking on the theme: “Find TB, Treat TB and work Together to Eliminate TB” the Health Commissioner debunked the rumour making round that TB is caused by witches and wizards. He said TB is caused by a germ called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis and can spread through the air when people who have active TB in their lungs sneeze, cough, spit, Speak or sing.
He further disclosed that people leaving with HIV are more likely to develop TB than people without TB infection, adding that the ailment is curable when detected early.
Dr. Akabuike eulogised the State Governor, Chief Willie Obiano for the prompt payment of salaries of workers and health facilities for the TB programme and signing of MoU with the global funds to contribute 20 percent of the funds by the donor to control TB in the State.
Earlier, the State Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Officer, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Okolie and the Director Primary Health and Disease Control, Dr. Emmanuel Okoye stressed the need for people to go for diagnosis and treatment when detected, adding that diagnosis and treatment are free.