150,000 Nigerians died of TB in 2019 – NTLCP
Worried by the the increasing spread of Tuberculosis in the country, the Director, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, Mrs Ukot Itohowo has lamented lack of adequate sensitization by the media.
The director stated this in Gusau, the state capital at a one-day sensitization programme on TB eradication for some selected journalists in Zamfara State, saying that the media had been focusing much on coronavirus, relegating tuberculosis to the background.
The Programme tagged, “Agenda for Media Orientation on TB” was aimed at educating the journalists on how to improve their performance in reporting how to eradicate tuberculosis.
Itohowo explained that the World Health Organization global report had showed that Tuberculosis kills 18 Nigerians every hour, adding that 150,000 persons died of tuberculosis in 2019 alone.
The Director noted that based on the WHO global TB report, Nigeria ranks 1st in Africa, 6th globally, stressing that Nigeria is also on the list of 14 globally among 30 highest TB burden countries in the world.
According to Itohowo, despite the alarming death rate from TB, people are not well informed about its implications, pointing out that there has been significant decline in TB testing and treatment due to lack of adequate public enlightenment.
The Director challenged the media to wake up from their slumber before tuberculosis will over take the whole country, pointing out that most people are not aware that tuberculosis has cure, calling on the media to embrace their responsibility.
“If the same energy given to COVID-19 awareness was put to Tuberculosis awareness campaign, there will be drastic reduction in its spread and effect,” she added.
She advocated for more campaign and sensitization on the causes of the ailment, signs and symptoms,vas well as prevention and control, calling on the federal and the state governments to establish more TB testing centers nationwide.