Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State

Tuberculosis: Delta Gov’t Partners Media, Others to Strengthen Awareness

The Delta government has urged partnership with the media and all stakeholders to Strengthen awareness on the danger of Tuberculosis (TB) in the state.

The call was made on Wednesday in Asaba at 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 Christian Tetsola, Director, Department of Public Health in the State Ministry of Health, in a 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 of the state on the danger of the airborne disease.

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 that 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 the high rate of TB in the state,” he said.

Tetsola added, “the campaign against TB must be intensified if we must achieve positive results and that is why we need the media in this respect.”

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

According to him, most people shy away from undergoing test and treatment that would help early detection and check the spread of the disease.

The director used the medium to appealed to health workers in the state to exhibit good attitude at workplaces towards patients who visit health facilities to seek counsel or treatment.

In his presentation at the workshop, Dr Emmanuel Ajumuka, the Senior Programme Officer for KNCV Nigeria, said that resistance from patients was a major challenge in the campaign against the disease.

He said, “one of the problem we are having in Delta state is that most diagnosed TB patients always refuses to continue with their treatment and drugs.

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

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

“They will say that they do not want someone to use their children stool for ritual purpose, you can imagine their belief.”

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

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