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Tuberculosis Related Death Still on the rise says 2014 Global Report

by hr

The latest WHO Global Tuberculosis Report is nothing but a shocker. National tuberculosis programs in every African, South East Asian, and Western Pacific country should return to the drawing board and re-strategize now. The Report which was released less than 24 hours ago revealed an increase of almost 500, 000 cases of tuberculosis notified – putting the total global figure at 9 million tuberculosis cases. This staggeringly high number of TB cases around the world still persists despite efforts by Global Fund, UNITAID, WHO, USAID amongst others. And this begs the question “What are we doing wrongly?”

The unacceptable rise in number of TB deaths from 1.3 million in 2012 to an alarming 1.5 million in 2013 is a clear indication that tuberculosis prevention and control should be the priority of every health ministry in the hard hit countries.

It is even more complicated for countries like Nigeria that are saddled with high burden of the deadly trio of Tuberculosis, HIV and drug resistant tuberculosis. This means that the National Tuberculosis Program in the country must take on the onerous responsibility of reversing the statistics. This would require a massive saturation of existing health facilities with TB and Multi Drug Resistance TB diagnostic equipments and drugs, strengthening the integration of TB and HIV services at hospital level, emphasizing community DOT, building the capacity of every health care worker in the country, strengthening logistic systems, and improving on quality of data recording and reporting which will inform prompt action where necessary.

Rising TB deaths despite availability of drugs that can cure it are a direct reflection of a weak public health system and this appalling statistics should serves as a wake- up call for governments and all stakeholders. A lot of work needs to be done and there is no time to waste.

Written by Dr Abdu Adamu
Kano State, Nigeria


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