By Charles Onyekamuo
About 2000 tuberculosis patients are now receiving treatment at some of the Directly Observed Therapy Centres in Anambra State.
Anambra State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, who disclosed this in Awka at a press briefing earlier in the week, said that outside Anambra, 13 other states including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja have contributed about 75 per cent of the total Tuberculosis burden in the country.
Akabuike, who spoke on the theme ‘Find TB, Treat TB and work Together to Eliminate TB’, dismissed the insinuation that tuberculosis could be caused by Voodoo, saying that such was not scientific.
He nonetheless stressed that the disease was caused by a germ called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis and sprayed through the air when people who have active Tuberculosis in their lungs, sneeze, cough, spit, speak or sing.
He added that people living with HIV were more vulnerable to be infected by Tuberculosis, an ailment he said was curable when detected early.
He however commended the state Governor, Chief Willie Obiano for the prompt payment of salaries of health workers in the state and provision of health facilities for the Tuberculosis programme, adding that the state government’s signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the global funds to contribute 20 per cent of the funds by the donor to control TB in the State was commendable.
Nigeria he said has the highest burden of the disease in Africa and the fourth highest among the 22 high burden countries in the worlds with an annual incidence of 338 per 100,000 and prevalence of 322 per 100,000 individuals.
“The untreated infected individuals can spread the disease to between 10 to 20 persons each year within the poor population, PLWHIV and other key affected populations,” he said.
The State Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Officer, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Okolie and the Director Primary Health and Disease Control, Dr. Emmanuel Okoye, had earlier emphasised the need for people to go for diagnosis and treatment when detected, saying that diagnosis and treatment were free.