In 1997, Bez Idakula, a song writer, artiste and Friends Africa advocacy ambassador lost his dad in a car crash. From then on, the family was faced with financial challenges but someone came and paid for his school fees to the end of college. “That was a miracle for me because I got help where I least expected it. That it why till date, I have made it my priority to lend a voice to educating people and helping where I can and aside using music, I speak at programs both locally and internationally to encourage people. If I got help after my dad died, someone else deserves that privilege too,” he revealed.
“Tuberculosis is a deadly disease and it is airborne. As the world marked World Tuberculosis Day recently, it became paramount for me to talk more about this as FA advocacy ambassador to enlighten the populace about the deadly but curable ailment” Bez added.
Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne disease. Although, it is preventable and curable, it kills 4,000 people every day worldwide. TB is a leading killer of women aged 15-44 and for people living with HIV in 2011 alone, an estimated 8.7 million new cases of TB occurred, leading to 1.4 million deaths. The primary co-infection of HIV, TB accounts for a quarter of all deaths among those living with HIV. And TB is second only to AIDS as a leading cause of death among women of childbearing age. Historically, TB has killed more people than any other disease.
According to Akudo Ikemba, a medical practitioner and CEO, Friends Africa, “although TB mortality has fallen by 41 percent since 1990 and over twenty million lives have been saved, TB still remains a leading cause of death in sub-Saharan Africa with over 1,000 people still dying from TB every year. FA as a strong advocate for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Africa now calls on the government, policy makers, media and all to take up active roles in ensuring TB is stopped during our life time.”
In the scientific arena, progress has been made on TB. New tools have been developed which allow for much more rapid diagnoses. New or re-purposed TB drugs and TB regimens are advancing in clinical trials and regulatory reviews. And significant progress has been made in the development of a vaccine for TB.
For Foluke Ojelabi, technical program manager, FA, “we want to stop TB in our lifetime. When a neighbour coughs continuously, it should concern you; you should advise that they visit the health centres to receive free treatment because treatment for TB is free. If otherwise, it must be reported because treatment is free.”
This year, Friends Africa has developed a TB fact sheet open for media distribution. This fact sheet aims to sensitise and inform everyone on the dangers and myths surrounding Tuberculosis. Media practitioners and entertainers can leverage on their various platforms to spread information about Tuberculosis and how it can be stopped.
Facts about TB
TB is airborne and can kill – every day 4,000 people lose their lives to TB. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Tuberculosis (TB) a global emergency in 1993 and it remains one of the world’s major causes of illness and death.
One third of the world’s population, two billion people, carry the TB bacteria. More than nine million of these become sick each year with active TB that can be spread to others.
Globally, 8.7 million people fell ill with TB in 2011, including 1.1 million cases among people with HIV
In 2011, 1.4 million people died from TB, including 430,000 among people living with HIV.
TB is one of the top killers of women worldwide, half a million women died from TB in 2011.
At least half a million children became ill with TB and an estimated 64,000 children died of TB in 2011.