Nigeria diagnosed 300,000 tuberculosis cases in 2023 — Minister

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The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, reveals that in 2023, the country identified more than 300,000 cases of tuberculosis (TB), marking the first instance in its history of recording such a significant figure.

Pate addressed attendees at the 37th STOP TB Partnership Board Meeting held in Brasilia, Brazil, on Tuesday.

According to the reports, the 37th board meeting included a presentation by the Stop TB Partnership on the TB perspective and their initiatives aimed at securing enhanced and effective Global Fund investments in TB.

Nigeria, alongside other nations and representatives from civil society boards, presented their interventions, sharing insights and perspectives on their experiences with the Global Fund.

“In 2023, Nigeria diagnosed over 300,000 TB cases for the first time in its history, reducing the missing case gap and positioning the country to achieve its 2025 National Strategic Plan targets.

“At the 2023 UN High-level Meeting (UN HLM) on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), Nigeria reached about 70 per cent of its cumulative target and approximately 90 per cent of the 2022 target,” he said

Recognizing the advancements achieved, he affirmed the country’s dedication to achieving a 100 percent treatment coverage rate and expanding TB preventive therapy (TPT) coverage.

Moreover, he mentioned that the country is actively documenting strategic initiatives and best practices to tackle case-finding challenges in a nation burdened by high TB rates.

“The achievements in Nigeria’s TB control programme would not have been possible without the support of partners such as USAID, GFATM, WHO, Stop TB Partnership, CDC, DoD, and Civil Society Organisations.

“The programme staff, especially the front-line workers, were also recognised for their dedication in providing TB services, even during emergencies and crises,” he said.

The minister noted that reaching this significant milestone marked a substantial advancement in closing the gap of undetected cases and aligns the country with its 2025 National Strategic Plan objectives for TB control.

“The increase in TB diagnoses is a testament to Nigeria’s commitment to tackling the disease head-on and implementing innovative strategies.

“Through a combination of data-driven interventions, evidence-based approaches, and technologically enhanced activities, Nigeria has made remarkable progress in identifying and treating TB cases.

“The achievement is particularly noteworthy considering the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Despite the disruptions caused by the global health crisis, Nigeria’s TB programme demonstrated resilience and adaptability, ensuring that TB services continued to be provided to those in need,” he said.

He emphasized that with ongoing assistance from partners and stakeholders, the nation is poised to capitalize on this accomplishment and advance even further in its battle against TB.

“The country’s dedication to ending the TB epidemic aligns with the global efforts to eliminate this devastating disease, bringing hope for a healthier future for all,” he said.

He claims that even during the pandemic, when worldwide TB case notifications decreased by 18%, Nigeria experienced a 15% increase in yearly TB case notification from 120,266 cases in 2019 to 138,591 cases in 2020 as a result of these efforts.

According to him, the nation’s yearly reports of tuberculosis increased by a staggering 50% in 2021, with 207,785 cases reported in 2022.

Looking ahead, he stated that the President of Nigeria had started the transformation of the he

He emphasized the necessity of balancing people’s orientation with the creation and provision of new technologies and of making tuberculosis a social justice issue.

In addition, he advocated for funding the healthcare value chain and supporting homegrown production of medications, medical equipment, and diagnostics.

“This approach would promote economic evolution and foster genuine partnerships across countries involved in the TB control campaign,” he said.

He highlighted the country’s dedication to innovation, data-informed interventions, and collaborative efforts with partners, underscoring their potential to drive significant advancements in tackling TB and enhancing public health outcomes.

Furthermore, he extended an invitation to all participants to join Nigeria in sharing the insights gained and best practices developed for addressing TB case-finding challenges at a public event slated for July 2024.

According to reports, Tuberculosis, caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, is an infectious disease primarily affecting the lungs but capable of impacting other body parts. Its transmission occurs through the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes, and if left untreated, it can pose life-threatening risks.

Common symptoms include persistent coughing, fever, weight loss, and night sweats. Treatment typically involves a regimen of antibiotics administered over several months.