Over 6,000 tuberculosis cases in Plateau State went undiagnosed in 2023.

Tuberculosis: Low Testing, Drug Resistance Responsible for Surge in Delta

Experts in Tuberculosis treatment and management have identified low testing rates and drug resistance as part of the reason for the surge of tuberculosis in Delta State.

The Senior Programme Officer and State Team Lead for KNCV Nigeria, Dr. Emmanuel Ajumuka, said most of the challenges they are facing in tackling the infectious disease is resistance from residents in the state who manifest the symptoms.

He said, “Patients manifesting TB symptoms in the state refused to summit sputum and stools for children for testing over fear of ritual

“They said if they submit their children’s stool, we will use it for ritual and for that reason, they refused to submit the samples requested. As a matter of fact, TB is on high increase in the state.

“Another problem we are having in Delta state is that diagnosed TB patients refused to continue using their drugs.”

Dr. Ajumuka said that about ten machines for testing TB in the state are not being utilised, noting that treatment has always been free.

In his opening remark at a one-day workshop training on tuberculosis, the Director, Public Health Department, State Ministry of Health, Dr. Christian Tetsola, decried the alarming rate of the disease.

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He said TB is one of the oldest diseases, but that it is so bad that the country is still seeing an increase in the number of people coming down with it.

He appealed to the public to join hands in the fight against TB by utilising facilities provided in the state.

He urged health workers to exhibit a good attitude towards TB patients, so as to encourage them to embrace early treatment.

According to the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Programme, Nigeria remains among the high-burden countries for Tuberculosis globally.

TB, a disease caused by a bacterium, often affects the lungs and is identified as the number one infectious killer disease in the world and also among the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

It is spread from person to person through the air. When people with TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air.

A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.

Estimates by the World Health Organisation (WHO) showed that TB killed 156,000 Nigerians and afflicted 452,000 in 2020.