TB epidemic hits Anambra, as over 2000 patients receive treatment



Over 2000 tuberculosis patients are currently receiving treatment at various Directly-Observed Therapy (DOT) centres in Anambra State, the state commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike revealed yesterday.

Akabuike expressed worry that Nigeria is the highest burden of the disease in Africa, and the fourth highest among the 22 high burden countries with an annual incidence of 338 per 100,000, and prevalence of 322 per 100,000 individuals.

The commissioner, who briefed newsmen in his office at Awka, disclosed that Anambra, the FCT and 13 other states contribute to over 75 percent of the total TB burden in Nigeria.

Speaking on the theme: ‘Find TB, Treat TB and work Together to Eliminate TB’, Akabuike further hinted that 15 drug-resistant cases are presently undergoing treatment in the eight local council areas of the state.

According to him, people leaving with HIV are more likely to suffer TB than people without TB infection, adding that the ailment is curable when detected early.

He reiterated that untreated infected individuals can spread the disease to between 10 to 20 persons each year within the poor population, and other key affected populations, including people living with HIV.

He debunked the rumour making rounds that TB is caused by witches and wizards, stressing that it is caused by a germ called Mycobacterium Tuberculosis and can spread through the air when people who have active TB in their lungs sneeze, cough, spit, speak or sing.

Akabuike eulogised the state Governor, Willie Obiano, for the prompt payment of health workers salaries and provision of facilities for the TB programme, including the signing of MoU, with the global funds to contribute 20 percent of the funds by the donor to control the disease in the state.

Earlier, the state Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Control Officer, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Okolie and the Director, Primary Health and Disease Control, Dr. Emmanuel Okoye urged members of the public to go for diagnosis and treatment when detected, saying that diagnosis and treatment are free.

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