The World Health Organisation (WHO) has sounded an alarm regarding the increasing rate of Tuberculosis (TB) infections in Borno State.
Dr. Walter Mulombo, the Head of Mission/Country Representative for WHO, expressed this concern during the 13th WHO End-Term Joint Operations Review (JOR) in Yola, focusing on the North-East region of Nigeria.
The JOR session, which encompasses Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states areas affected by the Boko Haram insurgency highlighted the urgency of addressing health challenges arising from the conflict.
Assuring the readiness of WHO to collaborate with the Borno State Government to tackle the issue, Dr. Mulombo urged stakeholders to take swift action to accelerate assistance and achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal of leaving no one behind.
What He Said
Dr. Mulombo emphasized the need for collaborative efforts, stating,
- “The rate of tuberculosis infection in Borno is worrisome. It means that Borno could be a ticking bomb for a tuberculosis explosion in Nigeria. We don’t want to allow that because of the humanitarian crisis; we need to work together because that thing itself is strictly an emergency.”
Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno highlighted the profound impact of the insurgency on the state’s health institutions, with approximately 50% lost, and numerous staff members abducted or killed. This, in turn, has exacerbated the tuberculosis challenge, requiring additional resources and personnel.
Governor Zulum, represented by the Borno Commissioner for Health, Dr. Baba Malam-Gana, emphasized the state’s reliance on military support to reach inaccessible areas for services such as immunization. He called on the WHO to provide assistance in addressing these challenges, including tackling Gender-Based Violence issues.
Representing Governor Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa, Commissioner for Health Dr. Felix Tangwame expressed gratitude for WHO’s contributions, ranging from capacity building to disease surveillance. He appealed for further assistance, particularly in ongoing training for health workers to stay abreast of new diseases and effective handling protocols.
What you should know
Tuberculosis is a potentially serious bacterial infection that predominately affects the lungs.
Nigeria is ranked sixth nation with the highest number of TB cases globally.
According to a WHO report, 9.9 million Nigerians developed tuberculosis in 2020, making Nigeria the African nation with the highest number of TB cases.