• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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FG, groups decry alarming tuberculosis prevalence in Anambra

FG, groups decry alarming tuberculosis prevalence in Anambra

Federal Government has raised the alarm over Anambra State rising cases of childhood Tuberculosis (TB) contribution in Nigeria.

The Federal Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the USAID, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation and Breakthrough Action Nigeria, made the disclosure at stakeholders engagement in Awka.

Ugochukwu Chukwulobelu, Programme Manager, Anambra State Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Management, said that state ranked highest in childhood Tuberculosis (TB) in the country.

He described TB as an airborne disease caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis which usually attacks the lungs and could also damage other parts of the body.

Chukulobelu, however, said that TB is preventable, treatable and curable, adding that TB tests and treatment are free of charge in all the facilities in the state.

“Anyone can get free TB tests and treatment in all the General hospitals and most health centres including private hospitals,” he said.

According to him, it spreads through the air when a person with tuberculosis of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks.

“If you have to take TB medicines, supportive people will be around you to help complete medications, don’t patronise unauthorized health facilities.

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“According to statistics on TB burden, Nigeria ranks number six in the world and number one in Africa.

“With every LGA having TB cases, Anambra has the highest burden of TB drug resistance cases and childhood TB contribution in the southeast and Nigeria. This is not a good thing for the state.

“To reduce the high burden of TB, the state government in collaboration with he National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) and other partners, set up 14 laboratories with gene Xpert machines for diagnoses.

“We have about 800 Directly Observed Treatments (DOTS) centres for TB but the major problem here is lack of awareness
among residents about TB, the diagnosis and treatment,” he said.

Chukwulobelu urged the media to intensify reportage on the burden and symptoms of TB as well as how and where patients could get medical help.

“Persistent cough for two weeks or more, fever, unexplainable weight loss and drenching night sweats are signs used to screen patients. Residents should report suspected cases of TB within their communities.

“TB patients should also adhere their TB treatments to prevent drug resistance TB cases which is even more dangerous. Everyone has a role to play to reduce the burden of the disease, ” Chukwulobelu said.

Also speaking Chijioke Oke of KNCV-Nigeria, partners implementing USAID in Nigeria, said that children living with adults who have TB, children who are HIV positive and malnourished children, were at risk of getting TB.

Oke identified low childhood TB awareness, stigma, low funding for childhood TB and low index for suspicion for childhood TB by healthcare providers, as some of the challenges with the control of the disease in the state.

He said that children’s stool was required to test children for TB because they did not know how to spit out sputum after coughing, as they rather swallow it.

“Our major challenge with Childhood TB control in the state is that parent are scared and they do not allow doctors take their children’s stool for test.

“Some of them said we want to use their children’s stool for ‘juju’. It shows the level of ignorance and lack of awareness among residents,” he said.