Tuberculosis: A plague devastating Gombe State
Sir: Gombe State has had over 130 cases of tuberculosis since January, 2020 which cut across men, women and children of all ages. A total of 1.5 million people died from Tuberculosis (TB) in 2020 (including 214, 000 people with HIV). Worldwide, TB is the 13th leading cause of death. The state has neglected this agent of mortality, most especially in the rural areas of the state, where active case findings of TB is low and a high number of suspected cases are ignored or wrongly diagnosed.
TB is a disease caused by germs that are spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys or the spine. A person with TB can die if they do not get treatment.
When one member of a house is a carrier of the disease, all other members are at risk because of the disease’s contagious nature. Here in Gombe State, especially the northern part of the state where an average household consists of more than 15 members due to the polygamous system of marriage and the extended nature of families, this shows that treating one patient of tuberculosis is not enough as it is normally done. Rather all members of a household should be tested and treated accordingly.
The general symptoms of TB disease include feelings of sickness or weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats. The symptoms of TB disease of the lungs also include coughing, chest pain and the coughing up of blood. One of the major reasons why TB thrives in the state is due to the knowledge gap amongst the people. TB is mistaken for the normal cough and it is treated with antibiotics which will only soothe the ailment for a while before it comes back.
As we speak, Gombe is in need of new ways of doing things. Gombe State needs newer methods of tackling health issues beyond the present rhetorics.
Nasiru Usman wrote from Gombe.