Group urges media support for fight against tuberculosis

The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme has urged the mass media to assist sensitising the public causes, and treatment of tuberculosis (TB).

The Director of the programme, Mrs Itohowo Uko, made the on Wednesday Umuahia during  a virtual seminar organised for journalists Abia and Enugu.

She said that tuberculosis kills more people than Coronavirus pandemic Nigeria, adding that the media had a lot of roles to play toward its reduction.

She said more than 18 persons die of tuberculosis per hour in Nigeria, according to Organisation (WHO) report.

Quoting the report, she also said that 157,000 persons died of tuberculosis in Nigeria in 2019.
Uko said that the inability of TB patients to access medication during the Coronavirus lockdown worsened the spread of the disease in the country.

She identified symptoms of tuberculosis as fever, loss of weight and protracted cough.
Uko said that tuberculosis is curable contrary to misinformation, urging people with persistent cough that had lasted for two weeks to go for a test.

She said that with early diagnosis, tuberculosis could be cured within six months, adding that its treatment is free at designated hospitals in the country.

She however urged TB patients to endeavour to complete the treatment cycle of six months to avoid its relapse.

According to her, some patients usually discontinued with medication after two weeks of treatment, which gave them temporary relief.

She dismissed the notion that TB could be contracted through sharing of plates, cups, cutlery or projected through witchcraft.

“The diseases is only airborne,” she said.
A resource person at the event, Mr Eze Eze, said it was important for journalists to focus more on human angle stories, reporting about tuberculosis.

Eze said that the media constiuted a significant force in helping people make informed decisions about their health.

Another resource person, Dr Charles Ugwuanyi, said that the outbreak of Coronavirus pandemic worsened the plight of TB patients, as they could access treatment during the lockdown.

He explained that TB and Coronavirus pandemic share similar symptoms but advised patients to go for early diagnosis so as to establish their particular case.

Ugwuanyi, however, said that Coronavirus  was associated with dry cough, TB’s cough produces sputum.

He cautioned against stigmatigation of TB patients, regretting that there is a significant reduction in people with cough seeking treatment for TB for fear of being considered Coronavirus patients.

In a , Dr Okorie Onuka, Abia Focal Person for TB, reiterated the importance of media support for the fight against TB, saying that it is curable. (NAN)