The Tuberculosis and Leprosy Supervisor for Shomolu Local Government Area and Bariga Local Council Development Area, Mr. Demeh Abraham, has expressed concern that many Nigerians are dying of tuberculosis because they are ignorant of its symptoms.
He said this at an awareness programme organised by the Association for Reproductive and Family Health through Health Alive Foundation, in partnership with the Dave Enechukwu Foundation, in the Ilaje and Ago Egun communities of Lagos State.
Abraham described TB as a highly infectious disease that could affect the lungs, bones and other organs in the body.
He stated that the symptom of the disease could be persistent cough, pain around the chest region, fever and recurrent infections.
He said, “Tuberculosis can damage the kidney and the lungs, if the affected patient does not know the symptoms or seek treatment early. It also spreads and can infect the whole family if they are living in an area with poor ventilation.”
The Executive Director, DEF, Mrs. Meg Aipoh, said that the community- based programme tagged, ‘Active Case Finding Tuberculosis’ was aimed at sensitising residents to the symptoms of the disease.
According to Aipoh, treatment for tuberculosis is free in Nigeria and funded by the Global Fund project in collaboration with ARFH. Also, she said about nine persons who tested positive to disease have been placed on treatment.
She said, “It is a house-to-house project, whereby our community workers go from door to door to collect samples of the sputum of the people living in these slums to test for TB. We put those who are affected on treatment immediately.
“However, the challenge is that people’s response to the test is relatively poor because many of them are scared of being stigmatised by their friends and relatives. That is why we need more awareness.”
In his response, the Chairman Ilaje Community Development Area, CDA, Mr. Samson Shokoya, said that stakeholders have been engaged to educate residents on the importance of testing for TB.
By: Bukola Adebayo
The Punch News