WHO says 450,000 people are resistant to TB drugs globally

Okeoghene Oghenekaro, Nigeria 
(First published in News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on 30th October 2013) 
The 2013 WHO Global Tuberculosis Report says an estimated 450,000 people develop Multi-Drug Resistant to Tuberculosis (MDR-TB). MDR-TB is a form of TB that is resistant to at least two drugs known as ``rifamoicin’’ and ``isonaizid’’, which are the two most powerful first line treatment of tuberculosis.  The report however said that globally 170,000 died from the disease in 2012.

This is contained in the latest report released in London and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja. The report was also highlighted by an Indian-based online publication on global health issues, the Citizens News Service (CNS). It said that an estimated 3.6 per cent of newly diagnosed tuberculosis and 20.2 per cent of re-treatment cases developed resistance to TB drugs.

It stated that less than one-third of the people estimated to have MDR-TB were detected in 2012. According to Mr José Castro, Interim Executive Director of the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, `` MDR-TB is a threat to global health’’. ``It puts a greater burden on health systems and budgets, as well as the obvious harm it causes to MDR-TB patients and their families.

``Cases are found all over the world, irrespective of a country’s overall level of TB prevalence, we all have an urgent and vested interest in identifying MDR-TB and controlling its spread, ’’ Castro said.  NAN reports that a MDR-TB Treatment Centre was inaugurated in Lagos last year as part of government’s efforts in the management of TB.

The Minister of Health, Dr Onyebuchi Chukwum, said that efforts were being made to curtail the spread of the disease in the country. ``The issue of tuberculosis has to be tackled with great zeal and we are hoping to achieve this by the establishment of special centres for the management of MDR-TB.''

NAN reports that the Federal Government has established the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programmes which supports free diagnosis and TB treatment in almost 4,000 health facilities across the country.

Okeoghene Oghenekaro, Nigeria 
Citizen News Service - CNS 
(First published in News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on 30th October 2013)