The KNCV Royal Dutch Tuberculosis Foundation, an NGO, says Nigeria is waiting for World Health Organisation’s (WHO) approval to reduce the treatment period of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis from 20 months to nine months.
The Country Representative of the NGO, Dr Gidado Mustapha, made this known during a capacity building workshop on Tuberculosis for media practitioners in Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday.
He said there are serious challenges on reducing the treatment period from 20 months to any number of the day.
He said research and trials are ongoing around the world to cut down the treatment period of Drug Resistant TB from 20 months to nine months.
He said drug resistant Tuberculosis occurs when strains of Tuberculosis germs are able to grow in the laboratory in the presence of at least two most important first line anti-tuberculosis drugs.
”It is a condition that happened when normal TB is not managed effectively or if patient did not take treatment on time.
”It is unfortunate that the treatment is longer than the normal TB, patients have to take treatment for a period not less than 20 months.
”Within the 20 months, the patient having Drug Resistant TB will take injections for Eight months.
”We all know that it is a very difficult situation for the patient and also a heavy burden on the programme in general,’’ said Mustapha.
He advised TB patients to prevent drug resistant TB from occurring by ensuring that treatment is adhered to religiously.
He said “we humble ourselves to know that health services alone cannot stop and end the disease in Nigeria, until we engage the media, hence, this workshop’’.
The media shall assist in creating the awareness and information about TB and create demand for the services.
He added that media would help in creating information about TB service delivery points in Nigeria and the importance of people to embark on early tuberculosis treatment of the disease.
Dr Kuye Joseph, an Assistant Director, who represented the National Coordinator, Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, said Nigeria ranked fourth among the 22 high burden countries in the world.
He said 2015 global TB Report put the prevalence rate for all forms of TB to 330 per 100,000 Nigerians.
”The incidence for all forms of TB is 322 per 100,000, deaths due to TB among people not living HIV is 97 per 100, 000.
“TB is the major cause of death among people living with HIV/AIDS,’’ Joseph said.
He said Tuberculosis cases are most common among those coughing for two weeks or more, those infected with HIV and people who live in overcrowded homes, camps or dormitories, and prison.
The disease is spread in the air when people who are sick with the TB expel the germs through coughing and sneezing, said the official.