By Chioma Obinna & Gabriel Olawale
A new report on global burden of disease released, yesterday, by the World Health Organisation, WHO, has ranked Nigeria 4th among six countries with the highest burden of Tuberculosis, TB.
The report revealed that Nigeria and five other countries including India, Indonesia, China, Pakistan and South Africa accounted for 60 percent of the total TB cases in 2015 worldwide.
The report, which showed that an estimated 10.4 million new TB cases were diagnosed in 2015 globally further revealed that estimated 1.8 million people died from TB in 2015. It also reported that a total of 0.4 million were co-infected with HIV.
The new data published by WHO in its 2016 “Global Tuberculosis Report” pointed out that these countries need to move much faster to prevent, detect, and treat the disease if they are to meet global targets.
According to the report, “Although global TB deaths fell by 22 percent between 2000 and 2015, the disease was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide in 2015, responsible for more deaths than HIV and malaria.
WHO in the report regretted that the gaps in testing for TB and reporting new cases remain major challenges. “Of the estimated 10.4 million new cases, only 6.1 million were detected and officially notified in 2015, leaving a gap of 4.3 million. This gap is due to underreporting of TB cases especially in countries with large unregulated private sectors, and under-diagnosis in countries with major barriers to accessing care.
“In addition, the rate of reduction in TB cases remained static at 1.5 percent from 2014 to 2015. This needs to accelerate to 4 –5 percent by 2020 to reach the first milestones of the World Health Assembly-approved “End TB Strategy”, the report noted.
Reacting to the report, WHO Director General, Dr Margaret Chan lamented that global actions and investments to end tuberculosis epidemic are falling far short.
She noted that Governments have agreed on targets to end the tuberculosis epidemic both at the World Health Assembly and at the United Nations General Assembly within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, adding that; “We face an uphill battle to reach the global targets for tuberculosis.”