From Stella Obi, Ibadan
AS PART of activities marking World Tuberculosis Day, Oyo State Government has offered free screening and treatment in all the health facilities across the state for individuals with persistent cough suspected to be Tuberculosis (TB).
The state Commissioner for Health, Azeez Adeduntan, stated this at the weekend in Ibadan in his address to commemorate the 2018 World Tuberculosis Day, with the theme “Find and notify all TB cases in Nigeria” with the slogan “Wanted: Leaders for a TB free world”.
Dr Azeez said that the free screening and treatment initiative of the Governor Abiola Ajimobi administration is to reduce the spread of TB in the society, noting that all health facilities in the 33 Local Government Areas and 35 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) have been mandated and mobilised to effectively carry out TB screening and treatment.
The commissioner enjoined any individual with persistent cough to visit health facilities for check-up, explaining that the most common symptom of Tuberculosis is persistent cough lasting 2 weeks or more which is accompanied by fever, night sweat, weight loss, chest pain, loss of appetite, coughing up of blood mixed with sputum and tiredness.
Continuing, he informed that the spread of TB could be attributed to living in an overcrowded environment, poor hygienic conditions, indiscriminate spitting of sputum and poor cough etiquette, malnutrition, HIV/AIDS, Diabetes mellitus and smoking.
He said that March 24th of every year was set aside by the World Health Organisation since 1882 as the World Tuberculosis Day when Dr. Robert kochs announced the discovery of the germ mycobacterium tuberculosis that causes tuberculosis disease, stressing that TB is a contagious disease that affects all ages and kills nearly 5000 people every day due to lack of access to treatment.
Dr Adeduntan added that over 10.4 million people had TB death in 2017 and there were 1.8 million TB deaths in 2016 making it the top infectious killer disease Worldwide, saying “Nigeria now ranks 5th among the 22 Countries of the world with highest TB burden coming up from previous 4th position in 2010. This is the result of scale up and expansion of TB treatment centre as an implementation strategy across all states in Nigeria”.
He allayed the fears that Individuals suffering from TB need not be isolated once they are on treatment but should be encouraged by the community to attend clinic regularly, as tuberculosis can be completely cured provided the treatment started early and drugs are taken regularly for the stipulated length of time required.
The commissioner reiterated on the need to create a neat and healthier environment in the state, saying that the state government will continue to prioritise cleanliness of its environment.
Dr Adeduntan acknowledged the unflinching support of the Damien Foundation Belgium to the state on TB control programme, saying that the foundation has contributed immensely to infrastructural and capacity developments across the State.
He also commended religious and occupational groups, civil society organizations and the media houses for the tremendous improvements and support for the TB control programme.