A new report from the 2017 World Health Organisation (WHO) global tuberculosis report has indicated that new cases of the diseases rose by 16 percent and accounted for 64% of the new cases India, Indonesia, China, Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria, and South Africa.
Tuberculosis (TB), a contagious and airborne disease, is a major public health challenge worldwide, infecting the lungs and other organ systems. TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. It is also the main cause of deaths related to antimicrobial resistance and the leading killer of people with HIV.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General said, it’s a critical landmark in the fight to end TB, “It signals a long overdue global commitment to stop the death and suffering caused by this ancient killer.”
“Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 53 million lives since 2000 and reduced the TB mortality rate by 37%. However, progress in many countries has stalled, global targets are off-track, and persistent gaps remain in TB care and prevention.
“As a result, TB still kills more people than any other infectious disease. There are major problems associated with antimicrobial resistance, and it is the leading killer of people with HIV.
“One of the main problems has been a lack of political will and inadequate investment in fighting TB,” added
According to WHO, national authorities received notifications of 6.3 million new TB cases and were reported to global health body. This reflects a 4.1 million gap between incident and notified cases, with India, Indonesia and Nigeria accounting for almost half of this gap, states the report.
The WHO’s 2016 Global TB report states that Nigeria has the highest TB burden in Africa and ranked 4th in the world. It is among the six countries that accounted for 60 per cent of the global burden of TB. Other countries are India, Indonesia, China, Pakistan and South Africa.
Nigeria and India accounted for 48 per cent of global TB deaths among HIV-negative people and for 43 per cent of the combined total TB deaths in HIV-negative and HIV-positive people. The same report also revealed that Nigeria is among the ten countries that accounted for 77 per cent of the global gap in TB case finding.
The 2017 report shows that in 2016, there were an estimated 10.4 million new (incident) TB cases worldwide, of which 6.2 million were men, 3.2 million were women and 1 million were children. People living with HIV accounted for 10% of the total.
In the same period, 1.7 million People died from TB, including 0.4 million among people with HIV in 2016.
Globally, the TB mortality rate fell by 37per cent between 2000 and 2016. The case fatality ratio (the global proportion of people with TB who die from the disease) varied from under 5 per cent in a few countries to more than 20 per cent in most countries in the WHO African Region. This shows considerable inequalities among countries in access to TB diagnosis and treatment that need to be addressed.
Addressing the co-epidemics of TB and HIV In 2016, 57 per cent of TB patients globally had a documented HIV test result.
In the African region, that has the highest TB/HIV burden; 82per cent of TB patients knew their HIV status. Globally, 85 per cent of reported HIV-positive TB patients in 2016 were started on antiretroviral therapy. Nevertheless, only 39 per cent of the total number of people living with HIV estimated to have developed TB in 2016 had been placed on antiretroviral therapy.
The WHO’s report states that funding required for a full response to the global TB epidemic in low- and middle-income countries is estimated at US$ 9.2 billion in 2017, excluding research and development.
Based on reporting by countries, US$ 6.9 billion was available for TB prevention, diagnosis and treatment in 2017, leaving a funding gap of almost US$ 2.3 billion. Overall, 84 per cent of the US$ 6.9 billion available in 2017 is from domestic sources.
The Federal ministry of Health had declared 2017 a year to accelerate finding of TB cases amidst concern Nigeria is among 10 countries that account for 77% of missing TB cases globally.
Adebola Lawanson, national coordinator of National TB and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), had said that nearly eight out of every 10 cases of tuberculosis go undetected. But it seems not much progress has been recorded.