A Tuberculosis survivor, Joyce Seember, has said the only way to end the spread of Tuberculosis was if all Nigerians regardless of their status, gets involved in the fight against the deadly disease.
Seember made this known in Abuja during the 2023 Pre-World TB Day Press Conference organised by Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, in collaboration with National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) and the Federall Ministry of Health with the theme “Yes! We can end TB” and slogan,.“Get involved”.
Despite interventions, Nigeria is ranked highest with the number of Tuberculosis cases in Africa, and ranked sixth globally.
While noting that majority of people living with the disease were resident In the rural areas, she explained that although TB was one of the deadly diseases in the world, it was curable.
According to her, her consistency in undergoing TB treatment for six months despite the pains and discomfort associated with the disease has paid off as she was currently TB free.
She said: “Advocacy is the only way to fight TB. We should all get involved in advocacy especially in the rural communities where we have the highest population living with TB because of their lifestyles which can be a catalyst to the spread of TB.”
Executive Directortor, KNCV TB Foundation Nigeria, Dr Berthrand Odume who noted that efforts were being geared towards reaching out to government and private sector to iincrease domestic resources for the control of TB in Nigeria, added that activities planned for this year’s World TB day was to help raise more awareness about the impact of Tuberculosis, encourage early diagnosis and treatment.
He said: “TB must be tackled with utmost urgency and responsibility. This we can achieve through government, communities and stakeholders buy-in. We need more education on TB more importantly on the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
Acting Board Chairman, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria, Dr Queen Ogbuji-Ladipo who called for consolidated efforts to address existing gaps affecting a TB free Nigeria, noted that advocacy would be heightened to ensure more political committment and resource support needed to boost TB control in the country,
“As at the end of 2022 the programme was able to achieve 60% performance of it’s estimates for TB case notification. That shows that the country is making good progress but we still have a large gap to close. We call on all to continue to consolidate our efforts until we achieve Nigeria free of TB.”
The National Coordinator, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) Federal Ministry of Health in Nigeria, Dr Chukwuma Anyaike who explained that Tuberculosis was not caused by witchcraft but a bacterium called mycobacterium tuberculosis,.added that it was not contracted by shaking of hands, and by hugging.
“The bacterium is suspended in the air and you can breathe it in. Whatever happens afterwards depends on your body immune system. As the number one principle of primary prevention, awareness creation comes in; we need to make much noise and it shouldn’t be just on an annual basis. We should try as much as possible to let people know about Tuberculosis.”