AS WORLD TUBERCULOSIS DAY IS OBSERVED, NIGERIANS ARE URGED TO DESIST FROM STIGMATIZING THOSE AFFECTED BY THE DISEASE.

Today is World Tuberculosis Day.

24th-March-World-Tuberculosis-Day-IllustrationIt is observed on twenty-fourth March each year to raise public awareness on the efforts made to prevent and treat tuberculosis. Tuberculosis which is an infectious bacteria disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis usually affects the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person especially in overcrowded environment through droplets from the breath of a person suffering from the disease.

As the theme of this year is “United to End Tuberculosis”, what is the effort of the Federal and State Ministry of Health towards total eradication of tuberculosis, the Director Public Health, Ministry of Health Enugu, Dr Okechukwu Ossi while speaking on the attitude of sufferers towards medication said there was treatment and diagnosis centres across the country including rural areas where drugs for the disease were available and free.

‘’The issue we have is denial, because of fear of stigmatization, where people will have TB, they will be coughing they will deny it. Most of them travel far for diagnosis, the drugs are readily available in all the Local Government Areas in Enugu State.’’

Dr. Ossai enumerated the symptoms of tuberculosis to include frequent coughing with blood, weight loss, fever and sweating at nights. The Enugu State TB and Leprosy Programme Officer, Dr Ifeanyi  Agujiobi stated that the disease could be prevented through the BCG vaccination of new born and avoiding close range with patients especially when they are coughing.

‘’The patients because of proper counseling and engagement, the adherence has been good enough.     The success stories are there, in the state, the present success story is 92%. So we are doing wonderfully well.’’

Highlighting the significance of the theme, the Project Officer, Challenge TB, Enugu State, Dr. OgoamakachukwuOghor, explained that the theme was a twenty year  plan aimed at achieving zero incident, zero suffering and zero death.

‘’What we call End TB Strategy, is a global strategy to end TB, so we want to find people who have TB and quickly put them on treatment so that they do not spread the disease.

Dr. Oghor urged Nigerians not to stigmatize against TB patients but should advise them to go for proper medication.

 

EVELYN AWUNOR

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