The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) says only 25 per cent of Nigerians have knowledge about tuberculosis, decrying the low level of awareness about the disease in the country.
The Head of Communication and Social Mobilisation NTBLCP, Itohowo Uko said that it is imperative to sensitise the public on the prevention, causes and symptoms of tuberculosis.
“Tuberculosis knowledge in Nigeria is low; it is 25 per cent of the populace that have knowledge about tuberculosis.
Tuberculosis which is an airborne disease is treatable and curable.
As part of our activities to mark this year’s Tuberculosis Day, we have decided to collaborate with the media to sensitise the public.
We want people to know what the disease is all about thereby erasing the wrong and misinformed knowledge about the disease,” she said.
According to her, out of 100 people we were to find and place on treatment in 2018, we were able to find 24 people.
The official stressed that “we want to inform people through this collaboration that the diagnosis and treatment for tuberculosis is free”.
Uko also said another factor that contributed to few people coming out for the treatment is stigma and the media can help educate citizens, especially the relations of the affected persons, to bring them for treatment.
The Senior Medical Officer, Department of Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Urhioke Ochuko, who currently oversees Childhood Tuberculosis Unit, said the Ministry’s aim is to educate Nigerians on the increase in the number of children suffering from tuberculosis.
“In 2018, we were able to identify just 15 per cent of children, from birth to 14 years, who had tuberculosis.
This does not make me feel fulfilled much in regard to my calling.
It is more difficult to diagnose the disease in children because they often do not produce sputum to conduct the test.
Hence our visit to use the media to educate and dispel myths about tuberculosis,” he said.