By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
Wife of Lagos State governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has launched three mobile chest X-ray vans to support Tuberculosis (TB) screening, active case search and improve TB diagnosis in Lagos Communities.
According to a news release from the state’s Ministry of Health dated 26th January 2021, the mobile x-ray vans will be moving round the State to provide prompt chest x-ray services and effective diagnosis of TB within the communities.
The vans were manufactured to specification and are adequately equipped to effectively provide comprehensive on site screening, diagnosis and treatment for TB.
The launching of the specialized vehicles took place at Evans Square, Lagos Mainland Local Government Council.
Sanwo-Olu said the Mobile X-ray vans were acquired by the State government in furtherance of its determination to explore innovative, efficient and latest practices in healthcare service delivery.
She disclosed that the State government has also acquired 18 state-of-the-art X-ray machines evenly situated in 18 selected healthcare facilities across the State for TB Chest X-ray screening.
She added that citizens can go to any one of the facilities and get screened for TB, free of charge.
“It is hoped that the introduction of this Chest X-ray screening will bridge the gap of inadequate logistics for TB diagnosis, improve childhood TB diagnosis and ultimately bring TB diagnosis and care to the door steps of Lagosians.
“A total of 38,277 TB cases were missed in Lagos State in 2019 and it is hoped that the introduction of Lagos TB Chest X-ray screening will drastically reduce the number of missed TB cases in subsequent years”, Dr. Sanwo-Olu averred.
The governor’s wife disclosed that TB case notification rate has progressively increased over the years in Lagos State.
Mrs. Sanwo-Olu who is also the State TB champion disclosed that Lagos has over 1,249 TB direct observed treatment (DOTS) centers spread across the 20 Local Government Areas and 37 Local Council Development Areas.
The TB DOTs are geared towards increasing access to care, she stated.
“I want to state here that TB screening, diagnosis and treatment at any of these centers is entirely free. I also want to emphasize here that TB is totally curable”, she stressed.
The governor’s wife appealed to citizens not to stigmatize anyone suspected of having TB but rather help them seek and access diagnosis and treatment at any of the DOTS centres close to their home.
“I want to implore everyone to take the message of the fight against TB back home. I say it once again that TB is curable and anyone suspected of having TB should not be stigmatized but rather the person should be directed to the nearest TB treatment DOTS center for diagnosis and treatment. The Lagos free TB Chest X-ray screening is here for your use” she said.
Speaking earlier, the State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi said the State Government is resolute in ensuring that Lagosians are appropriately empowered to become responsible for their health and well-being and take all necessary precautions to ensure that they are actively involved in the fight against communicable diseases such as Tuberculosis in the State.
Noting that it is imperative to prevent and reduce the burden of TB through awareness, early detection and prompt treatment of those affected, Abayomi who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Olusegun Ogboye said awareness, early detection and prompt treatment are keys to favorable outcomes.
He explained that chest x-ray has historically been identified as one of the primary tools for detecting tuberculosis (TB), especially pulmonary TB adding that in the developed world, mobile mass radiography has been employed as a strategy for TB screening with resultant coverage of a huge proportion of the population.
“It has been proven that chest X-ray, isolation of people with infectious TB and provision of TB treatment could significantly reduce a community’s TB burden. These Mobile X-ray vans will be moving round the State to screen people, provide prompt CXR services and effective diagnosis of TB within the communities.
“This would undoubtedly accelerate the State’s TB response to reach targets and curb the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, while contributing towards efforts targeted at the end of the national and global TB epidemic.
“It is essential for all to know that as a united force, we can tackle the menace of TB, as we have done for other diseases that reared their heads to threaten the wellbeing of Lagosians. I would therefore like to enjoin us to make good use of the mobile x-ray vans whenever they are in our communities as they are there for us”, the Commissioner said.
The Director, Disease Control in the State Ministry of Health, Dr. Rotimi Agbolagorite who also spoke at the event stated with the support from various partners and stakeholders bringing in several interventions, TB Case Notification which was 8,182 in 2010 and 9,750 in 2018 has increased to 11,723 cases in 2019 and all were placed on treatment.
“This accounts for about 20% increase in case finding as a result of the strategies deployed in the new Global Fund grant. However, in 2020, due to the global COVID -19 pandemic, we detected 7,356 TB cases in three quarters”, he added.
Present at the event were Chairmen of Lagos Mainland LG and Yaba LCDA, Mrs. Omolola Essien and Mr. Kayode Omilabu respectively, as well as representatives of TB partnering organizations.