The Ogun State Government has called on residents to take advantage of the free Tuberculosis screening in all the government health facilities to ascertain their status.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr. Kayode Oladehinde, made the call at a symposium organised by the ministry to commemorate this year’s World Tuberculosis Day in Abeokuta on Monday.
Oladehinde said the screening was necessary for those who had been coughing for two weeks.
He described tuberculosis as a curable airborne disease.
He, however, said that it remained one of the main causes of illness and death among the black race.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of this year’s celebration is, “Yes, we can end tuberculosis, be involved’’.
According to him, 47 Nigerians develop active tuberculosis every hour.
He said it could affect 10 to 20 new persons yearly if left untreated.
The permanent secretary called for a concerted effort to encourage suspected persons to present themselves for the free screening.
Oladehinde underscored the urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against the disease and achieve the commitment to end it.
He said that the phenomenon could be fought by increasing access to prevention and treatment as well as reduction of stigma and discrimination.
The permanent secretary further said that the State Government had extended TB services from 216 sites in 2018 to over 618 facilities in 2022 across the 20 Local Government Areas.
He also said that the free diagnosis is provided through the network of 16 GenXpert machines sites and 70 microscopy sites, which are spread across the state.
“I want to plead with us to suspect tuberculosis in anyone who has a cough of two weeks duration or more.
“All such persons should be encouraged to visit the health facilities for the free test.
“All persons living with or in close contact with a TB patient must be screened.
“We are all stakeholders in the task of ending the menace of TB.
“We should not fold our hands to let it fester.
“Let us join in the crusade by increasing awareness in our various domains until our world is free of this disease,” he added.
In a remark, a former World Health Organisation Consultant, Dr. Gani Alabi, advised health workers to adopt a patient-centered approach.
Alabi also spoke of the need to make nutrition an important part of the package for a TB patient who may need support.
NAN reports that the highlight of the celebration was the street walk around the Oke-Ilewo axis of Abeokuta and simultaneous community testing across the state.