BY: VITALIS UGOH Calabar
The Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), has confirmed that Nigeria is rated sixth out of the 20 countries in the World with Tuberculosis (TB) and as such calls for a concerted efforts among all stakeholders to reduce the scourge.
This was announced by the Head of the National Tuberculosis, Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) in the Federal Ministry of Health, Mrs. Itohowoo Uko, during a one day Zoom training for health reporters in Cross River state.
Speaking on TB situation in Nigeria : Why the media needs to talk about it, she said as a result of this ugly development, there was need to increase the awareness on the deadly effect of(TB) across the country.
According to her, “TB is killing more people in the country than HIV and COVID-19 pandemic.
“TB, she said is a very serious disease which needs to be tackled with vigour from directions through the creation of more awareness from the media point of view. It is real. It is not a myth or a disease caused by our forefathers.
Therefore, she solicited the same awareness created during the COVID-19 to be extended to Tuberculosis issues.
The media Uko added, has a lot of collaboration to do with other stakeholders to stem the spread of the disease beyond what it is presently.
“Though, COVID-19 shares the same symptoms, it is better you go for test which is free than using local treatments, she advised”.
She described it as a disease of poverty, adding that the cloak is ticking.. the time to end TB is now.
“TB is spreading farther and it can only be stopped by continuous awareness amongst all stakeholders. The media need to build a synergy with the Ministry and donors agencies towards this direction”.
She said that “continuous cough for two weeks or more, could be tuberculosis. It is curable. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to stopping the spread of TB”.
“TB diagnosis and treatment is free. Go to the nearest health facility or call this toll free number 08002255282, she advised.
However, she said that the training was organized to encourage the media to create the awareness it created during the early period of the COVID -19 pandemic.
“We need to be properly and adequately informed of the devastating nature of TB so as to overcome it, she added”.
Also speaking, the Director Of Communication, Mr. Eze Eze of Breakthrough Nigeria, presented a paper entitled “The role of the media in TB reduction in Nigeria”.
He admonished media practitioners to do more in the area of human angle stories.
According to him, “TB will not kill anybody if it is detected and treated. TB is not caused by the gods of our land. Help reduce the stigma amongst people in the rural areas”.
He said that there would be a reduction of TB in our country if we approach it from all angle.
Eze therefore appealed to the media to turn their searchlight on TB other than Covid-19 pandemic.
The desk officer, TBLCP, ACSM, in Cross River state, Dominic Ndem, had appreciated the media men who religiously participated at the Zoom training workshop.
The training, he said will go along way in equipping them on the devastating nature of TB and urged them to use their various medium to disseminate that TB is curable and free.
Dr. Cynthia of (KNCV TB Foundation and Mrs. Felicia Banku Akam (monitoring and evaluation officer CR-STBLCA) were helpful during duration of the training.