From:Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) in collaboration with the Breakthrough ACTION (BA), a USAID-funded project has Organised an orientation for journalists on Tuberculosis reportage in Nigeria
Speaking at the Virtual training yesterday the Director National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program (NTBLCP) Mrs Itohowo UKo commended the participants for their attendance and passion for the fight against TB, saying commitment of the Media and the cooperation of a well-informed public, the narrative on TB would change for the better
She said according to the Global TB report, the disease causes ill health for approximately 10 million people each year, saying Nigeria has the highest burden of the disease in Africa and the third highest burden in the world after India and Indonesia.
She lamented that over 75 per cent of Nigerians with the disease are yet to be diagnosed or receive any form of treatment.
This, she blamed on the lack of awareness about the disease among the communities and the social stigma attached to those diagnosed with the ailment.
She said though, in recent times, Nigeria has been improving its efforts in finding the missing cases, those cases yet to be detected are more than those reported.
Detecting all cases, she said, is very important because the missing cases are a risk to those who are not infected.
She advised Nigerians who have been coughing for more than two weeks to visit health facilities because an infected person can infect 10 to 15 persons if not quickly treated.
“Unfortunately, despite significant progress made over the last few years, every hour, 18 Nigerians still die of TB; a disease that is preventable and curable. It is on this basis that Stop TB partnership Nigeria is working with other partners to complement the efforts of the government to end TB in Nigeria.
“We also want to use this opportunity to call on the president, Muhammadu Buhari, to accelerate TB response and keep the promise made on TB at the UN meeting in New York last year.”
Mrs Itohowo Uko said the media has a great role to play n raising awareness about the health, social and economic consequence of the disease and to step up efforts to end TB epidemic.