Experts raise the alarm on tuberculosis, urge government’s intervention
Their appeal followed growing concerns over the spate of deaths resulting from TB in Nigeria, a development they said, was becoming worrisome.
The Deputy Director of Cochrane Nigeria, Professor Angela Oyo–Ita, who spoke in Calabar, Cross River State yesterday during the World Tuberculosis Day (WTD), said Nigeria ranked sixth in the world among countries with the highest number of the disease.
She said a lot of work, therefore, needed to be done to reduce the epidemic, which infected 10 million people and killed two million in 2016 alone.
“We call on leaders and government at all levels to support evidence-based policies and direct funding for TB control, based on available evidence, a lot of evidence are available and the information is free,” she said.
Oyo-Ita added that the Federal Government should pay more attention to funding and seek foolproof evidence for effective approaches to ending the TB epidemic as “we want to make sure that number reduces in the best possible time because a lot of people are living with it without knowing.”
She stated that TB could be totally cured within six months of intensive treatment of patients who comply with prescribed medication by the expert, as the disease has been with humanity for ages .
“As a research institute, Cochrane believes in searching for cases of people living with the disease because we know that early detection is key, if anyone who is living with it can adhere to the drugs, which are provided within six months, the individual will be free from the disease.
“Active case detection is important and adherence to treatment is the only way out and for one to take drugs for six months he or she needs support,” she said.
Also speaking, a researcher with Cochrane Nigeria, Dr. Joshua Mwankon, who also appealed for urgent government intervention, explained that the treatment has two phases, which takes six months subdivided into the first two months and the last four months.
He said: “The first two weeks of the first two months, which is the intensive phase, is very essential, while the last four months, which is continuation stage is equally vital because completion of treatment is very essential in the cure of the disease.”
Meanwhile, the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has disclosed that it treated no fewer than 68 children with tuberculosis in Borno State free of charge in the last six months.
Doctors without Borders, Medical Officer, Dr. Mohammed Abdullahi, said this yesterday during the commemoration of WTD in Maiduguri, the state capital.
According to him, the children were treated at MSF’s medical facility at Fori Community in Maiduguri metropolis, adding that most of the patients had completed their treatment for tuberculosis.
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