Group Trains Journalists on proper Tuberculosis reportage In Ebonyi


By Eze Chinwe 

The Ebonyi State Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (STBLCP) in collaboration with National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) with support from United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) project-Breakthrough ACTION Nigeria has trained Journalists on proper reportage of tuberculosis (TB)-related diseases.

The 4-hour virtual training held on 15th April, 2021, at the EOC Conference Hall, Ministry of Health, Centenary City, Abakaliki, featured journalists from print and electronic media and was aimed at broadening their knowledge of  Tuberculosis, and how best it should be disseminated; in a bid to increase its awareness to the public as all attention were being placed on COVID-19 to the detriment of TB, which is equally a deadly disease.

Mrs Uko Itohowo, the Director, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, said more media awareness on TB  will help dispel the increasing misinformation being peddled by non-professionals about the disease as COVID-19 has worsened TB cases in  as about 60 per cent of patients go unnoticed and untreated.

The director revealed that about 150,000 persons died of tuberculosis in Nigeria in 2019 according to the World Health Organisation report as Nigeria is ranked first in leading cases of TB in Africa and sixth in the world according to the 2020 World Health Organisation (WHO) report.

She said “currently TB kills 18 Nigerians every hour, with a record number of 47 Nigerians developing active TB every hour, seven of which are children however, contrary to misinformation, tuberculosis is curable, and i urge people with persistent cough that has lasted for two weeks to go for a test.”

In an interview with THE VOICE, Mr. Alobu Issac, TB manager, Ebonyi State Ministry of health, said that 84% of the 39,000 TB cases recorded from 1999 till December 2020,  have been successfully treated.

“In Ebonyi state, we have done so much in expanding the TB services. At the point of state creation, we had only three facilities, today we have over 500 health facilities in Ebonyi offering TB services and this includes all the general hospitals in the state all the health institutions, all the mission hospitals. now we have focused our light on the private sector. Last year, we trained over 400 health facilities on tuberculosis.

“We have also focused not only on the private sectors but at the primary health care level which is the grassroots. So, we want every level of health care to be saturated with TB services. We have gone beyond the level of ‘go to mile 4 hospital’. We are now at the level that you can access TB health service anywhere you are, very close to yourself.

“We have introduced what we call community TB care. this component care is a kind of service if one doesn’t want to come to treatment centre he or she can have her treatment even at home with the support of voluntary health workers (community TB treatment supporters) all these strategies are in place to make sure that nobody suffering from TB misses out.

“In Ebonyi state on average, every quarter we report between 300-400 new cases of TB. He reiterated

Resources person at the training, Mr Eze Eze of breakthrough action Nigeria said  that the training was to support the media on how to disseminate the correct information to the public so they would be enlightened on how TB would be contracted, how to avoid it and where to get treatment.

Also, Mr Bolatito Aiyenigba, TB deputy project director, urged the media to sensitise the people on preventive measures to be taken which includes to observe cough ethics, avoid crowded areas because TB is an airborne disease. ”TB treatment is free and toll-free line is 3340,” the director added.

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