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Expert urges TB inclusion in UHC for effective treatment

by Haruna Gimba

By Asmau Ahmad

A public health nurse, Mrs Grace Adekoya, has called for the inclusion of Tuberculosis (TB), in the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) scheme to improve access to diagnosis and treatment.

Adekoya made the call in Ibadan on Saturday at the Monthly Scientific Session of the West African Postgraduate College of Nurses and Midwives (WAPCNM), Oyo/Osun Branch.

She said that including the TB scheme would guarantee timely diagnosis and treatment for patients.

The expert said that the number of people being afflicted with the disease would reduce drastically through a multi-sectoral action plan.

According to her, TB prevalent rate will drop if its determinants such as poverty, undernutrition, HIV infection, smoking and diabetes are addressed.

Adekoya further stated that the World Health Organisation’s 2020 and 2025 milestones for TB incidents and death could only be feasible through timely diagnosis and treatment.

“This milestone requires TB fatality ratio to fall to by 10 per cent in 2020 and 6.5 per cent in 2025.

‘“The latter can only be feasible if people with TB are diagnosed promptly and treated effectively,” she said.

According to her, Africa accounts for about 24 per cent of global cases and 32 per cent of deaths globally.

“In Nigeria, nearly three out of every four cases of TB are missed as a result of not reporting at health facilities.

“Common symptoms of active TB include cough that lasts for three weeks or longer, chest pain, fatigue, loss of appetite and unintended weight loss.

“TB is a communicable disease. It is a major cause of ill health and one of the leading causes of death, ranking above HIV/AIDS worldwide,” she said.

The expert stated that TB, an airborne disease, is caused by a bacteria called Bacillus Mycobacterium tubercule.

“TB is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs mainly through coughing. The disease typically affects the lungs but can affect other sites,” she said.

Also speaking, Dr Khadijat Musah, the Chairmsn, WAPCNM, said that public enlightenment would help reduce the risk of TB transmission.

Musah also expressed the need for a multi-sectoral action towards addressing TB determinants.

The theme of the session is, “’Invest to End Tuberculosis: Save Lives.”

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