Delta Calls for Partnership with Media, Stakeholders to Raise TB Awareness

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The Delta State Government has urged for partnership with the media and all stakeholders to deepen awareness on the dangers posed by tuberculosis in the state.

The call was made by the Director, Department of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Dr. Christian Tetsola, in Asaba, during a one-day training workshop for journalists and media workers by the State Ministry of Health in collaboration with its technical partners, KNCV and Breakthrough Action Nigeria with support from the USAID.

Dr. Tetsola, Director, in his welcome address, said the prevalence of TB was alarming and taking a high dimension in the state.

He noted that there was an urgent need to mobilise committed efforts of all stakeholders to spread awareness and educate the people on the likely dangers posed by the airborne disease.

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He said that TB, if detected early was treatable but for ignorance and lack of awareness, many suffer and die from the disease.

“Tuberculosis is one of the oldest contagious diseases, but many people don’t know it is very common around us.

“Here in Delta, many people don’t know that TB is real and that the disease is treatable and preventable if diagnosed early.

‘This is why this training workshop for journalists is very important because the media is a critical stakeholder in our crusade to spread information about public health.

“However, we must all take action because tuberculosis is here with us. It is so bad that we are seeing high rate of TB cases in the state,” he said.

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Dr. Tetsola said the campaign against TB must be intensified if positive results must be achieved, adding “That is why we need the media in this respect.”

He expressed the state government’s displeasure over the poor attitude of the people in utilising public health facilities in the state.

According to him, most people shy away from undergoing tests and treatments regimen that would aid in early detection and check the spread of the disease.

The director appealed to health workers in the state to exhibit good attitude towards patients that visit health facilities to seek counsel or treatment.

In his presentation, the Senior Programme Officer for KNCV Nigeria, Dr. Emmanuel Ajumuka, cited resistance from patients as a major challenge in the campaign against the disease.

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He said, “One of the problems we are having in Delta state is that most diagnosed TB patients always refuse to continue with their treatment and drug usage.

“Most people who go to health facilities for treatment don’t want to submit their sputum, which would help to facilitate early treatment, for tests.

“Also, many parents who take their children for treatment always refuse to bring stool samples.

“They will say that they don’t want someone to use their children’s stool for ritual purposes. You can imagine their belief.”

Dr. Ajumuka said that available records showed that four out of 20 persons tested positive for TB, and that children were mostly impacted.

He, however, urged parents to allow their children to undergo diagnosis and treatment.

(NAN)

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