ASABA/Nigeria: The Delta State Government has so far established over 290 centres in its health facilities across the state for the treatment of Tuberculosis (TB).
The Delta State Commissioner for Health, Dr Mordi Ononye, made this known during a State wide broadcast as part of activities to celebrate the 2018 Tuberculosis Day in THE State over the weekend.
Dr Ononye said that other TB services readily available across the State under the Delta State TB Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Centre were the 10 Gene-Xpert Centres and 80 Microscopy Centres for the diagnosis of Tuberculosis disease.
He said that efforts by government to arrest the disease were yet to yield the desired result, saying that majority of people had no awareness about the disease and its transmission, the mythical beliefs and exercise of faith while some patients refused to be treated even with financial encouragement from Partners, adding that they all hindered access to care.
According to Dr Ononye, Delta State was one of the 22 high burden States for Tuberculosis and Multi-Drug resistant Tuberculosis, stating that his Ministry had notified 2,258 new cases of TB in the year 2017, which he said represented only 14.2% of the expected notification but expressed dissatisfaction that the figure fell short of the estimated 16,000-plus cases of TB living with us.
To Control the diseases, the Commissioner said, ‘We need to find these infected unaccounted over 13,000 persons that show the symptoms and signs of cough lasting two weeks or more, which is the major sign and symptom of the disease with or without other accompanying signs like: fever, Night sweat, weight loss, loss of appetite, coughing of blood, chest pains.”
He added that over 200 cases of Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis had been notified in the state till date.
Giving the Statistics of the disease Worldwide, he stated that there were three million TB patients undetected in 2016 worldwide while 10.4 million new cases of TB were estimated to have occurred in the year 2017.
He added that the 2016 Global TB Report showed Nigeria had the highest TB burden (at least in terms of absolute numbers) in Africa and ranked fourth on the list of countries with TB.
He further said that Nigeria was a high burden country for Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis and HIV and that in 2016, Nigeria notified less than 20 percent of the total TB cases estimated for the year, implying that there were many undetected TB cases in communities.
Dr Ononye revealed that unfortunately opinion leaders, societal and community leaders that should identify with the problems of Tuberculosis were hard to come by as stigmatization, discrimination and fear were still rife in the society.
He described the theme of the celebration ‘Wanted: Leaders for a TB- free World’ as very apt saying there was need for leaders from all walks of life to be engaged, even as they themselves would be engaging others in a coordinated manner towards eradicating the disease from all conceivable angles.
He thanked various partners and stakeholders for their assistance to slow down the tide of the scourge such as the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme, World Health Organization, Global Fund, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Institute of Human Virology-Nigeria, German Leprosy and TB Relief Association and Caritas Nigeria, among others.