by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
PLATEAU STATE – Over 900 persons have been diagnosed with Tuberculosis for the last quarter, which is 3 mouths, 20 percent of people are not enrolled (for various reasons), while some are dead as a result of Tuberculosis.
This disclosure was made by Plateau State Coordinator of ‘Breakthrough Action Nigeria,’ Dr. Catherine Igoh, while speaking at the flagging-off ceremony for National Tuberculosis Testing Week at Kabong, in Jos North local government area of Plateau State, on Monday.
She said, “So, we are still tracking the defaulters and to ensure that they are brought back for treatment. The option of choosing Kabong for the outreach was because during their Community Outreaches and Screening for Tuberculosis in the communities all round the state, Kabong had the highest number of TB cases, whereby most people have been treated. That is why the choice of Kabong came about.”
Also speaking at the ceremony, Plateau State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Nimkong Lar, said “Tuberculosis is a preventable and curable disease, which has but led to the death and disability of individuals in our communities.
“The State Ministry of Health, through the State Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (STBLCP) and its partners, has made concerted efforts to change the Tuberculosis narrative in the state.
“The State Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme implements various responses to address the challenges of low TB cases finding due to the low awareness of the disease,” Dr. Lar stated.
Dr. Lar, who was represented by Director Public Health, added that, “These include, but are not limited to, Advocacy, Social Mobilization and Community Outreaches such as the one we are having today.
“To sustain the drive for TB case finding in Nigeria, the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Program and Partners will observe National TB testing Week (NTW) – also called, ‘check am o’week,’ – every first week of August to carry out an intensive nationwide mobilization effort, which is aimed at creating awareness for TB.
“Others are, to Intensifying TB case finding, putting those vulnerable to developing active TB on preventive treatment, and preventing community transmission of TB, because every undiagnosed/untreated case can infect 15 people within a year,” he revealed.
Dr. Nimkong Lar noted that, the week will feature the following activities, among others: Massive creation of awareness about Tuberculosis (TB) on Mass and Social Media, Community Outreaches, Screening for Tuberculosis and Prompt Notification of Positive Tests, as well as prompt placement on treatments of TB screening of HIV-positive clients, and placements of eligible clients on TB preventive treatment.
The commissioner called on people of the State, who have symptoms of Tuberculosis, to avail themselves for Tuberculosis screening at the designated medical outreach centers at the Local Government Areas.
“It is our hope that, this collective effort will help to fight-off the disease, thereby making Plateau State a TB-free State,” he stated.