Tuberculosis (TB) continues to be a global Public Health challenge despite significant progress made in the global progress towards a TB free world, however this progress is not uniform in every country. In 2015, Nigeria was ranked as the 4th on the list of six countries contributing 60% of the new TB cases and as the African country with the highest TB burden within the African continent. Several initiatives have been implemented in Nigeria to address the challenge of achieving a TB-free country with focus on improving knowledge of TB among the general population, however very few literatures have reported changes in the proportion of the general population on the knowledge of Tuberculosis in Nigeria. This report compares knowledge of TB in Nigeria general population over 5 years (2012-2017) using selected key indicators from the National Knowledge, Attitude and Practice survey 2012 and 2017 data.

Awareness of TB and Knowledge of the Causative Germ

Awareness of TB among the general population is integral in the progress towards a TB free Nigeria. There was no appreciable difference between the percentage of the population aware of TB in 2017 when compared to the 2012 proportion. This was also true of the percentage distribution of the general population that knew the causative agent of TB. This minimal percentage change in awareness and knowledge of causative organism reveals that the several intervention efforts in Nigeria over these five years are not reaching all of the targeted audiences.

Knowledge on Risk Factors

Risk factors are conditions that can predispose an individual to being infected with TB but most of them are modifiable. The knowledge of risk factors to TB in the general population over the 5 years under review showed slight improvement in the knowledge of respondents about poor ventilation (2.3 percentage points) and overcrowding (2.5 percentage points), as risk factors for TB when compared to the 2012 findings. However, knowledge of poor nutrition, presence of HIV, poverty and infection at young age as risk factors had varying degrees of decline in the general population.

Knowledge of TB Symptoms

Knowledge of TB symptoms

The knowledge of some TB symptoms in the general population over the 5 year period showed an improvement in the knowledge of participants about persistent cough as a symptom, but there was appreciable decline in percentage of general population who had knowledge of productive cough, weight loss and shortness of breath as a symptom of TB.

Knowledge on correct duration of treatment

The knowledge of the correct duration for the treatment of PTB in the general population was compared over the 5 years. There was a modest but significant increase (7 percentage points) in knowledge of the general population about the correct duration of treatment while there was varying degrees of reduction in incorrect knowledge.