157, 000 Nigerians die of tuberculosis yearly — Health Minister

The Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, on Friday, lamented the high mortality of tuberculosis (TB) in the country, saying about 157, 000 Nigerians die of TB in the most productive age of 15 to 34. 

The minister stated this, when the delegation of the Joint United Nations Mission on TB and Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) visited the ministry in Abuja.   

Ehanire said Nigeria still ranks high among the seven countries, which account majorly for the disease globally, and also among the 14 high burden countries for TB, TB/HIV and Multi Drug Resistant TB. He said government invited the mission to the country, due to the magnitude of the disease, which poses serious threat to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

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He said: “We strongly believe that an effective primary healthcare system is indispensable in detecting and treating TB and NCDs.“TB and NCDs are topical problems in Nigeria, and both diseases cause high morbidity and mortality at a high cost to individuals and families. They affect the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and leave many families without financial support. 

“NCDs cause 41 million deaths globally and 71 percent of all death globally. And it affects mostly middle and low-income countries like Nigeria. The estimated cumulative economy loss between 2011 and 2015 is about seven trillion dollars. 

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“There are 64,000 children, out of the estimated 429,000 TB cases in Nigeria in 2018 and about 157,000 annual death due to TB in the most productive age of 15-34 years…”

Speaking, Lead, Strategy of the World Health Organisation’s TB programme, Dania Weil, commended the government for its leadership and commitments to end TB and address NCDs.She said addressing the enormous societal and economic burden of these diseases requires dramatically increased and sustained domestic financing for primary healthcare. 

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