The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole on Friday revealed that Nigeria has the fourth burden of Tuberculosis in the world and first in Africa, disclosing that the country recorded 600,000 cases of the disease every year.
Adewole said Nigeria also has the worst cases of tuberculosis in the continent, saying five out of six cases in the country are undetected.
He said that the five undetected cases portends danger to the society.
The Minister spoke while flagging off a free mobile testing and treatment of the disease in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The initiative, tagged “Wellness on Wheel” was put together by the Federal and the State government with support from the United State Agency International Development (USAID).
The Minister said the focus of the initiative was to detect and pick up every TB case for proper treatment.
Adewole said, “We are flagging off this initiative to improve TB cases detection in our country. Nigeria has about 600, 000 TB cases every year and we have the fourth largest burden of TB all over the world and we are number one in Africa.
“What is particularly worrisome is that we are only able to detect one out of six cases of TB. In terms of detection, Nigeria has scored the least in the world in terms of being able to pick TB cases.
“The danger is that TB is infective and the five out of six cases undetected will infect other people and therefore our mandate is to increase case detection, so that the five missing cases will be detected and treated, hence, this unique initiative called ‘Wellness on Wheel.
“With this innovative idea, we can diagnose TB within a very short time, at most, two hours, we can do x-ray using this vehicle, we can also detect TB cases using generic test, we will also know if the case is drug resistance type or non drug resistance type.”
The State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun in his own speech said the state has zero tolerance for TB.
He said healthcare delivery is the number two on the cardinal programmes of his administration, saying the state would not joke with the health of its citizens.
The Governor said the initiative would further help data gathering in the State.
Amosun who was later adopted as “TB Champion Ambassador” commended both the Federal government and other partners said the confidence reposed in the State would not be taken for granted.
He added that the TB doesn’t recognise status, religion or tribe.
The Governor assured that the vehicle, equipped with modern facilities to detect the disease would be properly maintained, adding that the vehicle would move from one community to the other.
He also promised to introduce the initiative to his colleague Governors through the Governors’ Forum, saying that the mobile center would take pressure off the treatment clinics in the State.