Adejoke Adeleye, Abeokuta
Tuberculosis is one of the major causes of death as an epidemic in Nigeria requiring the attention of all stakeholders to stem its tide in the society.
The Wife of the Governor of Ogun State, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun in a release signed by the media aide to the wife of the governor Kemi Oyeleye, to mark the Year 2020 World Tuberculosis Day has called on all religious leaders to join health workers in the crusade against TB.
The release Theme for this year’s World Tuberculosis Day is “It’s Time” and aimed at drawing attention to the urgent need to act, by ensuring equitable and people-centred TB response and increased access to prevention and treatment, reduce stigma and discrimination as well as to build accountability.
Mrs Abiodun observed further that Nigeria is classified as a high TB/HIV prevalent country as an airborne disease with no gender discrimination or respect for social status.
The disease, according to her has the young and the old falling victim to it.
Bamidele blamed the prevalence of TB on limited access to health services, particularly among the less privileged in the society, saying that those with low socio-economic status are more vulnerable to the disease.
She stated further that Ogun State has been quite innovative in this regard by increasing access to TB treatment but emphasises collaboration with private sectors by engaging Private Health Practitioners, Patent Medicine Vendors and Community Pharmacists.
Also, Ogun State now has 306 DOTS sites for TB services from 216 DOTS sites in 2018 across the 20 Local Government Areas of the state while TB diagnosis has remained free to patients.
TB according to her is curable adding that a total of 3,102 cases were managed in 2019 with 83% successfully treated.
The release enjoins anyone with a cough lasting 2 weeks or more to present himself or herself to health facilities for free tests and treatment as an untreated TB case will infect 20 new persons, suggesting that all persons living with or in close contact with a TB patient(s) must be screened.
“Health workers as key stakeholders are enjoined to be more painstaking in the discharge of their duties by among other things obtain information about patients’ history of cough, make effective use of modern diagnostic services provided by Gene Expert Machines to ensure diagnosis in general.
Religious leaders are equally advised to be part of the crusade against TB by encouraging their followers to visit health facilities in suspected cases not leaving out the media organizations whose roles are to disseminate TB messages to the general public.”