FG declares state of emergency on childhood TB

Written by on March 29, 2022

The Federal Government has declared a State of Emergency on childhood tuberculosis in the country.

Dr Chukwuma Anyaike, the Coordinator, National Tuberculosis, Buruli Ulcer and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), announced
this in Abuja at the bi-weekly meeting of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) on COVID-19 and other infectious diseases in the country.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease that is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that often
affect the lungs.

The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are spread from person to person through tiny droplets released into the air via coughs and sneezes.

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) as stating that “Nigeria has recorded a 50 per cent increase in TB notification from 138,591 TB cases
in 2020 to 207,785 TB cases in 2021.

The world body added that “Tuberculosis in children is usually primary, paucibacillary, characterised by difficulties in diagnosis of both drug susceptible and resistant TB.

The NTBLCP coordinator, therefore, said that the management of TB in children was characterised by difficulties due to both peculiarities of children and the disease.

Chukwuma said that these disturbing statistics called for a change in narrative of the country’s child TB scourge, stressing the need for concerted response from stakeholders.

He said “we now have a National Steering Committee for Childhood TB, which will now be the central advisory body of the Programme.

The national coordinator said that the capacities of pediatricians and medical officers were being built in the country to improve early diagnosis and prompt treatment of childhood TB.

Chukwuma said that the programme was also collaborating with the National Primary Health Care Development Agency to improve on BCG immunisation to primarily protect children from TB, Leprosy and even Buruli ulcer.

The Director-General, Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, said the agency was working to strengthen sub-national disease surveillance systems in the country.

Adetifa said that the agency had also published public health advisories on Lassa Fever via its website.

He explained that “as at last week, Nigeria recorded 659 confirmed cases of Lassa Fever in over 23 states, with a Case Fatality Rate (CFR) of 18.7 per cent.

He disclosed that NCDC was keeping an eye on Cerebrospinal Meningitis (CSM) outbreaks on the country’s borders in the north and also investigating reports in Zamfara.

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