Lawanson made the revelation in Abuja on Monday while delivering a paper entitled: “TB in Nigeria and Need for Accelerated TB Case Finding and Treatment” to commemorate the 2017 World TB Day.
The conference was organised by the programme in collaboration with Stop TB Partnership Nigeria and KNCV/Challenge TB.
The national coordinator said the 2016 Global TB Report showed Nigeria had the highest TB burden in Africa and ranked fourth on the list of countries with TB.
She said that the report revealed that Nigeria was among the 10 countries that accounted for 77 per cent of the global gap in TB case finding.
Lawanson noted that “in 2016, Nigeria notified less than 20 per cent of the total TB cases estimated for the year, implying that there were many undetected TB cases in communities.”
She explained that the undiagnosed cases in various communities served as a reservoir for continued transmission of the disease in the country.
According to her, the Federal Government has declared 2017 a year of accelerated TB case finding to end its transmission.
She said the declaration was aimed at mobilising political commitment and resources from government and partners for the implementation of strategic TB case finding interventions for early TB case findings and prompt treatment.
Lawanson said that an implementation plan had been developed to support the declaration, stressing that the plan would facilitate the increase in TB notification by three-fold relative to 2016 level.
She said the 2017 World TB Day coming up on March 24, was to reflect the declaration by government to accelerate the TB cases finding in Nigeria.
The theme of the 2017 World TB Day is: “Unite to end TB in Nigeria” with the slogan “accelerating TB case finding and treatment.”
The national coordinator pointed out that government, with support of partners, would focus on demand creation for TB services through community participation and TB awareness creation.
According to her, TB is curable and advised that any cough for two or more weeks could be TB, and could be diagnosed and treated free of charge.
She added that “anybody with such symptoms should visit the nearest healthcare provider to take a TB test or call the toll free number 08002255282 for prompt action.” (TNE)