‘Inability of Tuberculosis Patients to Get Treatment Worsens as Focus is on COVID-19’

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Director, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, Mrs. Uko Itohowo, says COVID-19 has worsened tuberculosis cases in Nigeria, as about 60 per cent of patients go unnoticed and untreated.

Itohowo said this on Monday at a virtual seminar with newsmen in Ilorin.

She said that according to the 2020 World Health Organisation report, Nigeria is ranked first in leading cases of tuberculosis in Africa and sixth in the world.

Itohowo observed that all attention were being placed on COVID-19 to the detriment of tuberculosis, which is also a deadly disease.

‘Inability of Tuberculosis Patients to Get Treatment Worsens as Focus is on COVID-19’
‘Inability of Tuberculosis Patients to Get Treatment Worsens as Focus is on COVID-19’

She said that although tuberculosis is a deadly disease, with proper treatment it could be cured. “The inability of tuberculosis patients to access medication during the COVID-19 lockdown worsened the spread of tuberculosis in Nigeria.

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“Thus, about 150,000 persons died of tuberculosis in Nigeria in 2019 alone, according to a WHO report,” she said.

Itohowo listed symptoms of tuberculosis to include fever, loss of weight and protracted cough.

She said, however, that contrary to misinformation, tuberculosis is curable, and urged people with persistent cough that has lasted for two weeks to go for a test.

She said that with early diagnosis, tuberculosis could be cured within six months, adding that treatment of tuberculosis is free at designated hospitals in the country.

“Tuberculosis is not spread through shaking someone’s hand, sharing food, touching bed linens or toilet seats, or sharing toothbrushes. It is also not contracted through witchcraft, but airborne,” she explained.

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(NAN)

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