ASABA/Nigeria: As part of measures to check the spread of Tuberculosis (TB) in the state, the Delta State Government has made the treatment free and encouraged Deltans to visit health facilities and take advantage of the services offered therein.
The Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye made this known today during his State wide broadcast in Asaba as part of activities to mark the 2019 Tuberculosis Day Celebration, which has as theme, “It Is Time”.
The Commissioner stated that TB affects almost every organ of the body and could lead to death if not treated, adding that it was difficult to prevent the transmission except when people down with TB were identified, diagnosed and treated in an appropriate and regulated way to confirm their cure.
Dr Ononye said that the state government was providing huge resources alongside partners such as Global Fund, German Leprosy Relief Association, National Tuberculosis, Buruli Ulcer and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) amongst others to reduce the scourge of TB.
He said that the state government had multiple sites called DOTS Centers in every local government area to care for patients from diagnosis to treatment, inclusive of government hospitals, primary health care centers and some private health facilities.
The health commissioner revealed that misconceptions about TB were rife even among health care workers with consequent stigmatization and discrimination which he noted had led to sufferers shying away from being identified hence the multiplication and spread of the disease in the environment at an alarming rate.
He stated that TB cases that were still undetected constitute a pool for continuous transmission of the disease in Nigeria, which according to him, had been classified among the countries with high burden of TB and currently ranked sixth globally and first in Africa.
The Commissioner said that according to available data, in 2018 only, there were 12,000 estimated TB cases in Delta State but only 2,284 cases were reported and treated with the gap of over 9,000 undetected patients spreading the disease.
He called on the general public to note that a cough which has lasted for two weeks or more needed to be tested for TB.
According to him, a child not gaining weight, malnourished, have hunch back, neck swollen, chronic chest infection, diarrhea, needed to be evaluated for TB and that HIV patients with cough for any length of time needed to be evaluated for TB.
In line with the theme, the commissioner appealed to all stakeholders to join in the fight to reduce the TB scourge.