End stigmatisation of TB patients

Nigerians should desist from stigmatising patients with tuberculosis, as the disease remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in developing countries.

The relevant authorities to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic and advocated for early diagnosis, treatment and palliative care.

TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer, adding that each day, over 4000 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease.

In developing countries, TB accounts for 7 percent of all deaths, which is the most common cause of death from a single source of infection among adults, and statistics indicate that children constitute about 10 percent of all new cases in high-burden areas.

Each year, we commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

The 2020 World TB Day theme “It’s time” is therefore apt, as the battle against TB require collective responsibility of both government and personal commitment.

In this race to combat a disease that knows no boundaries, it is necessary to have a conceptual and clear understanding of TB overall with the hope of providing better treatment through novel and collaborative research and public health efforts.

World TB Day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness about TB, and pushing governments and individuals across the globe to take action against the disease as is the case with the COVID-19.

We are disturbed because according to the World Health Organization (WHO), if the incidence of TB continues to grow at the reported cases, the number of deaths worldwide from TB will increase to more than 10.1 million by 2030.

It has been observed that the association between poverty and TB is well-recognised, and the highest rates of TB were found in the poorest section of the community. TB occurs more frequently among low-income people living in overcrowded areas and persons with little schooling.

We use the occasion to call for early diagnosis, treatment and palliative care, noting that an estimated 40 per cent of deaths from TB are preventable if awareness and early treatment was intensified.

Dr. Jumai Ahmadu, Helpline Foundation for the Needy

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