The Wife of the Governor of Ogun State Governor, Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun on Tuesday, blamed the prevalence of Tuberculosis in Nigeria on limited access to health services, particularly among the less privileged in the society.
Mrs. Abiodun noted that Tuberculosis, as an epidemic is one of the major causes of death in Nigeria that requires the attention of all stakeholders to stem its tide in the society.
The First Lady in a release, signed by the Press Officer, Kemi Oyeleye to mark year 2020 “World Tuberculosis Day” in Abeokuta on Tuesday, lamented that people with low socio-economic status are more vulnerable to the disease.
The theme for this year’s World Tuberculosis Day is: “It is Time”.
The “World Tuberculosis Day” is aimed at drawing attention of all stakeholders to the urgent need to act, by ensuring equitable and people centered Tuberculosis response and increased access to prevention and treatment, reduce stigma and discrimination as well as to build accountability.
According to Mrs. Abiodun, Nigeria is classified as a high Tuberculosis and HIV prevalent country, adding that both young and old fall victim of Tuberculosis.
The First Lady noted that the state had been innovative in its fight against Tuberculosis by increasing access to treatment thorough collaboration with the private sector.
She maintained the state had been engaging Private Health Practitioners, Patent Medicine Vendors and Community Pharmacists to ensure adequate treatment of Tuberculosis victims.
Mrs. Abiodun disclosed that the 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 Tuberculosis diagnosis had remained free to patients.
She insisted that Tuberculosis is curable, adding that a total of 3, 102 cases were managed in 2019 with 83 percent successfully treated.
She enjoined anyone with cough lasting two weeks or more to present himself or herself to health facilities for free tests and treatment “as an untreated Tuberculosis case will infect 20 new persons,” suggesting that all persons living with or in close contact with a Tuberculosis patient(s) must be screened.
Mrs. Abiodun said, “Health workers as key stakeholders are enjoined to be more painstaking in the discharge of their duties by obtaining information about patients’ history of cough, making effective use of modern diagnostic services provided by Gene Xpert Machines to ensure diagnosis in general.”
“Religious leaders are equally advised to be part of the crusade against Tuberculosis by encouraging their followers to visit health facilities in suspected cases, not leaving out the media organisations whose roles are to disseminate Tuberculosis messages to the general public,” she added.