If there is no improvement on TB diagnosis, the disease will continue to pose a threat to the well being of many Nigerians.
A Professor at the Department of Microbiology, University of Lagos, Adeyemi Adeleye, has identified the use of outdated drugs as a major challenge to tuberculosis, TB, treatment in Nigeria.
Mr. Adeleye said in Lagos that some of the drugs are no longer effective, as they have been in existence for the past six decades.
“We are not making progress in terms of TB drugs; we are not meeting the standard regiment,” Mr. Adeleye said.
“Some of the drugs we are using for the treatment of tuberculosis have been in existence since the 50s; many TB patients have developed resistance to the drugs. This is because they have used them over and over again, the drugs have become ineffective,” he added.
The professor proffered research and improvement on diagnosis to curb tuberculosis epidemic in the country.
“New regiments are coming on board and we have to buy them and also improve on our diagnosis,” Mr. Adeleye said.
The microbiologist said that Nigeria currently ranks fourth among twenty two countries with the highest TB burden in the world and second in Africa.
He said that in 2011, Nigeria recorded 30.3 per cent and 75 per cent for both TB case detection and treatment.
“Both were below the World Health Organisation’s, WHO, target of 70 per cent and 85 per cent for TB detection and treatment respectively,” Mr. Adeleye said.
He said that non-adherence to the prescribed drugs by TB patients to the prescribed drugs is a major challenge to the cure of the disease.
Mr. Adeleye said it takes a long time to cure TB and in the process the patient may be lost in treatment and continue to spread the bacteria.
He explained that about 30 per cent of HIV-infected in the country were diagnosed to have TB co-infections portending a “serious problem on our hand”.
He urged the Federal Government to respond quickly by purchasing the Xpert MTB/RIF assay endorsed by WHO in 2010, for rapid detection of TB cases.
The Xpert MTB/RIF assay is recommended for screening of drug-resistant tuberculosis and for populations infected with HIV.
Mr. Adeleye also urged the Federal Government to acquire Rifampicin resistance for TB patients and people living with HIV who are at risk of drug resistance.