Awka – The Tuberculosis (BT) Unit, Anambra State Ministry of Health, in conjunction with World Health Organisation (WHO) has solicited the partnership of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Anambra State Directorate to embark on aggressive campaign against tuberculosis in the state.
The State Programme Manager of the TB unit in Anambra, Dr Chukwulobelu Ugochukwu made this disclosure on Friday, while briefing the press shortly after a meeting with the Director, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Anambra State, Barrister Charles Nwoji, at the agency’s headquarters in Awka.
Dr Chukwulobelu said the essence of the meeting was to galvanize the support and collaboration of NOA and the media to mobilize the people of the state for effective campaign against tuberculosis.
Revealing that the state has a high burden of tuberculosis, with one thousand and two cases of the disease in the last quarter of 2020, the TB programme manager expressed the readiness of his team to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that the people know everything about the disease.
In his words, “We have identified gaps which we want to leverage the support of NOA to address. Once TB is not detected early, it may lead to death and that’s why we want to equip our people with the right knowledge to be able to seek early attention and treatment to ensure that we do not have casualties from TB cases. In Anambra State, every Primary Health Centre in all the local governments has dot centres for the care of TB. The problem is that people don’t know about it,” he said.
On his part, the WHO TB Surveillance Officer in charge of Anambra State, Chukwuebuka Ugwu, expressed strong displeasure over the people’s high level of ignorance about the disease.
According to him, “TB is one of the oldest diseases known to man, yet there is a lot of misconceptions about it, adding that in the communities, people believe all sorts of wrong information about the disease. First is that it is curable. It is not inheritable. Also, treatment is free, test is free. But people tend to have this high fear because of the stigma and that is why sensitization is important,” Ugwu noted.
Stressing that tuberculosis is curable and its test as well as treatment is free, the WHO officer enjoins Anambra people to access TB services from any primary health care facilities in the state.
According to him, the visit was to expand their partnership with stakeholders in the information industry, to send out the right message about TB to the populace.
“We are here to sustain an ongoing engagement with the media and we are solidifying with the partnership with NOA and use that as a platform to spread the message of TB to the people,” he said.
He further solicited the support of wealthy individuals in the state, while saying that the fight against tuberculosis is capital intensive.
Responding, the State Director, NOA, Barrister Nwoji, pledged total support of the agency to the health bodies and the people of the state, saying that the assistance of his agency for the campaign against tuberculosis is a possibility and should be sustainable to win the war against the age- long disease.
He assured that NOA field officers would soon be trained on all about tuberculosis to enable them to have the prerequisite capacity to mobilize and educate the people in a such way that Anambra citizens would internalize the knowledge of tuberculosis, its characteristics, signs among others.