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NTBLCP targets Bwari against Tuberculosis

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By Ndidi Chukwu

Nigeria has doubled effort to eliminate Tuberculosis (TB) which is considered a global disease burden with Nigeria third among countries where prevalence is high, followed by India and Indonesia. The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) is pushing up efforts to encourage residents in Bwari area council of the FCT to use centres allotted for free diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis in their community.

At least 13 sites are located in Bwari amid attempts to encourage residents to watch out for symptoms of the disease and seek prompt treatment. On an outreach to Bwari, coordinator of NTBLCP, Dr Gabriel Akang, in comments delivered by Dr Rhoda Atteh, urged community leaders to be vigilant about the respiratory health of residents and ensure suspected cases are taken to any of the sites for diagnosis and treatment.

“You need to be aware of the symptoms so you can go in for testing,” said Phyllis Jones-Changa, country director for FHI360, one of the partners supporting the TB programme in Nigeria.
The outreach to mark World TB Day gathered hundreds of residents after meeting with the Etsu Bwari, HRH Ibrahim Yaro, in his palace. But an open attitude toward TB without discrimination against persons living with it could mean more people voluntarily step up for treatment, according to Adewale Osho of Association for Family and Reproductive Health.

The anti-TB programme has expanded to include infection control to train residents and workers to keep infections from spreading within communities. TB cases are aggressively treated in hospitals equipped to handle mutli-drug resistant strains of the disease, with support from the US government which supports TB programme through three 12 implementing partners, according to Kathy Grooms, country director for US Centre for Disease Control.

But “a sizeable proportion of support goes to TB within communities where the impact is usually felt,” said Odume Bethrand of the CDC, one of the three major agencies of TB support by the US.

A five-year plan started this year to reduce TB prevalence to levels where it no longer constitutes public health problems in the country by 2050. The NTBLCP has set three targets deadline for 2020: to detect at least 70% of the estimated all forms of TB cases by 2020 and be able to successfully treat 90% of all new confirmed TB cases.

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