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Experts call on Nigerians to check their Tuberculosis status


Bukola Afeni


Stakeholders in the health sector is calling for an increase  in early Tuberculosis case finding ,treatment and notification ,as Nigeria is classified among the 14 countries with high burden of Tuberculosis in the world .
The chairman of the Stop TB Partnership Nigeria ,Professor Lovett Lawson made the disclosure at the press conference to mark the 2018 World Tuberculosis day celebration in Abuja .
The group is also calling on Nigerians to know their TB and HIV status ,so as to end the disease in the country .
According to him ‘Tuberculosis is one of the top ten causes of death world wide ,and the main cause of deaths related to anti microbial resistance,and the leading killer of people with HIV”
“Tuberculosis is completely curable if detected and treated early ,and the drugs and diagnostics test are free of charge in Nigeria,The awareness is very low and responsible for the low detection rate ”
He stressed the fact that Nigeria is targeting to eradicate the missing cases by 2030.
He disclosed that TB can be prevented by promptly finding active TB patients and giving them the recommended treatment for 6 months to prevent spreading the germs to others .
“Avoiding overcrowded areas and poor ventilation system ,observing cough hygiene by covering the mouth properly when coughing and sneezing , ñot spitting indiscriminately in the public ,are some of the measures of reducing the spread of Tuberculosis ”
He also charged the media to intensify efforts in boosting awareness and advocacy in area of health intervention.We have great work to do by engaging in advocacy and awareness program to enlighten the public about the disease .
Similarly,he noted that the world tuberculosis day provides the opportunity to shine spotlight on the disease and mobilize political and social commitment for accelerate progress to end TB.
The vice chairman of the STOP TB,and the national professional officer of WHO,Professor Ayodele Awe said there should be strategic effort to reduce the number of missing cases by all stakeholders in the health sector .
“We are meant to detect 400 cases of Tuberculosis every year,but unfortunately we are able to discover 100,000 cases per year .What happens to the 300,000 cases that we cannot discover ?
According to Dr Awe ,the stakeholders in the health sector should be more proactive by engaging in more advocacy to reduce the number of cases .
“We are only able to discover 15% of the cases ,we are encouraged to do more ,as many individuals are going about without knowing that they have the disease .They may be in our community or place of work transmitting the disease .without knowing it .
According to him ,Active case finding (ACF)requires an intentional effort by health care system to increase the detection of TB in a given population .
“The strategy identifies and bring into treatment people with TB ,who have not sought diagnostic services on their own initiative ”
Similarly he encouraged Nigerians to seek early detection of the disease,and stop engaging in self medication
“Anyone coughing for more than two weeks ,should go to the nearest health facilities to detect tuberculosis .While reinforcing that early diagnosis and treatment is the key to stopping the spread of Tuberculosis”
While speaking Dr Adebola Lawanson from the National Tuberculosis ,Buruli Ulcer and Leprosy control programme who was represented by Dr. Ahman said the Nigerian team are employing efforts not only to increase TB case notifications but to make sure all tuberculosis patients are promptly put on treatment .
He disclosed that the federal government over the years have been working with partners to provide quality patient centered prevention ,treatment and care free of charge .
“We are using GeneXpert MTB/RIF technology as the primary diagnostic tool for TB among all presumptive cases in the country .We have 390 GeneXpert sites in the country .We are targeting to have at least 1 GeneXpert machine per LGA ”
“We are introducing an innovative TB mobile truck ,which is a one stop shop for the diagnosis and treatment of Tuberculosis ,which will provide a state of the art efficient TB screening ,whose services will bring health care to people’s door steps ”
“The mobile TB diagnostic units will improve access to TB services by bringing TB screening and diagnosis to the door steps of clients as a one stop ship .It will also ensure early diagnosis and treatment of TB ,and contribute to halting the transmission of TB in community ”
In the same vein ,he emphasized that the federal government is ensuring that there is free treatment in the various centers across the country .
“We have 37 specialized hospitals and treatment centres across the country .Nigeria is among the ten countries that accounted for 67% global gap in the world.
He further stressed the fact that huge gap findings is great among children in the last 10 years ,while noting that government will engage private partnership in reducing TB cases in the country .
“The country has implemented various interventions to address the challenge of low case finding .Achieving the reduction in TB incident rate for the attainment of the 90-90-90 target of the end TB strategy ,will be a mirage ,if something drastic is not done ”


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