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Doctors urge patients to utilise TB DOTS centres

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AS Nigeria battles with tuberculosis (TB) infection, some medical practitioners have urged  TB patients   to do everything possible within their power not only to adhere to TB treatment but also   to make use of    Directly Observed Treatment (DOT), Short-course centres   across   the federation.

 DOTS are a strategy used to reduce the number of tuberculosis (TB) cases. In DOTS, healthcare workers observe patients as they take their medicine. Left alone, many people with tuberculosis fail to take all their medication and contribute to the spread of drug-resistant tuberculosis.

 Medical Officer of St Kizito Clinic Lagos, Dr. Ndidi Nwosu, who gave the advice, stated that Nigeria would only make headway in the fight   against tuberculosis if patients learn   to use DOTS   across the federation.      

Nwosu, who spoke   on the current trends in the management of tuberculosis with a focus on Multi Drug Resistant TB (MDRTB) workshop organised by Loving Gaze for the medical community in Lagos, explained that MDRTB has become   part of the TB debacle in Nigeria because some patients   have not been following their drug regime  faithfully. 

 The medical practitioner added that “the prevalence of TB has become a lot higher than estimated by the Word Health Organisation (WHO) in Nigeria,” thereby making  “Nigeria ‘s TB burden the third highest among 22 countries in the world.” 

St Kizito Clinic Medical Director, Dr. Alda Gemmani, stated that her clinic with aid of some donors have been able   to contribute   its quota towards reducing TB burden in Nigeria.” We set up a TB/DOTS center in 2005- nine years ago. Since its inception, we have made over 8,000 visits aimed to screen, diagnose and monitor TB. More than 1,200 patients have been successfully treated,” she said.

 Nwosu said although that current prevalence is yet to be ascertained “in 2010, more than7, 000 cases were reported with MDRTB”, adding  that “ up to 17 per cent of TB burden are MDRTB patients among newly infected and re-treated TB patients.”

 She   listed  challenges   facing TB   in Nigeria to include     stigma, inaccessibility of tests to identify MDRTB gene and few MDRTB treatment centers, a scenario, which often lead to long waiting period for confirmed cases of MDRTB across the country.

 Other challenges, according to her, include  ” long duration of treatment with greater possibility of developing extreme resistant TB (X-DR), which is more difficult to treat with less than

50 per success rates especially among HIV-infected persons and   absence of child friendly treatment regimes for MDRTB “



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