‘70% of TB patients don’t seek care until late stages’

PHOTO: yourgenome.org

PHOTO: yourgenome.org

Control Officer of the Lagos State Tuberculosis (TB), Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer, Dr. Hussan Abdulrazak, has revealed about 70 per cent of people with TB in Nigeria do not seek healthcare.

Speaking recently in Lagos at the launch of a TB Awareness Campaign at Mushin Local Government Secretariat by the Agbami Co-Venturers, he said, the prevalence study discovered that most TB patients do not report at the hospital until late stages.

According to him, the survey showed that TB awareness in the country is at 30 per cent and the low awareness rate is responsible for more cases of the disease.Abdulrazak noted low awareness rate as an underlying factor to more TB deaths in Nigeria, as often time people take for granted cough, its main symptoms.

“Cough can be caused by several factors, thus the need to educate people that cough for two weeks and beyond could be TB,” he added.Abdulrazak explained that people are not aware enough to seek health care, which explains why they report late and eventually death, “TB is curable if detected early, so no basis for it to kill anyone.”

The TB expert advanced that low awareness, and population rate explains why Nigeria is the third country burdened with the disease globally. This, he said, highlights the relevance of the awareness campaign intervention by the Agbami Co-Venturers.

Stating the scope of the campaign was Coordinator, Corporate Responsibility, Chevron, Mr. Sunday Okegbemiro, who said the campaign would be taken to three other states, (Rivers, Kano and Kaduna) to loud the awareness.

Okegbemiro who represented the Director, Star Deepwater (DW) Assets and PSCs at Chevron, Mr. Jeffery Ewing, pointed out that DW and its Co – Ventureres in the Agbami Field launched the campaign in its attempt to fight the scourge of TB and its related diseases.

The deliberate efforts in partnership with National TB and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP), he noted has made huge impact: “14,352 screened cases of presumptive TB, 2,126 detected, identification of 92 TB multi drug-resistance and 53 treated.”

He, however, noted that the campaign was to further “enlighten people on the dangers of TB, how to prevent infection, manage and cure as well as strengthen the existing health systems.”

Abdulrazak identified defaulters of TB treatment as the major challenge of the system and admonished the people on Mushin LGA and its environs to practice cough hygiene by covering their mouths either with a handkerchief or the inner elbow when coughing to avoid more infections in crowded places.

“People can get access to free diagnosis and treatment in every Local Government Area (LGA) and Local Council Development Area (LCDA) of the state,” he stated.While commending DW and its Co – Ventureres in the Agbami field, the Sole Administrator of Mushin LGA, Mr. Olayinka Kazeem, appealed for the construction of a chest clinic at the area due to its population.



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