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TB Control: NGO Warns Against Stigmatisation, Discrimination … As Incidence Increases To 4.3million

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Challenged by the rising
incidence of Tuberculosis around the world and the quest to end the scourge, a health-based Non-Governmental Organisation, Action Health Incorporated (AHI) has warned against stigmatization and discrimination of persons with tuberculosis in order to realize the 2030 deadline of TB eradication.
The Co-founder and Director of the NGO, Dr Uwemedimo Uko Esiet gave the warning at the programme of the launch/scorecard of tuberculosis campaign in Rivers State held at the state Ministry of Justice Hall, Port Harcourt, Monday.
Speaking to The Tide in an interview shortly after the programme, Esiet maintained that stigmation and discrimination had remained a major challenge and impediment in the fight against tuberculosis, adding that until such attitudes are down-played, the fight would be futile.
Esiet said “so far, the main challenge is that people still hold on to what is not correct. There is a whole lot of stigmatization and discrimination around TB and so long as this is there, we will not be getting to end TB as quickly as we want it. Because of the stigma and discrimination, many people who ordinarily would have loved to go for testing are not going and thereby not having access to its treatment”.
Esiet noted that the NGO’s efforts at tuberculosis intervention was to fight the ignorance that people have about the disease saying “what we have largely done is to first do a survey of knowledge, attitude and perception of people around tuberculosis and used that findings to develop a demand creation and behavioural change intervention”.
The Lagos-based NGO director stated that there has been a higher incidence of tuberculosis from over three million to about 4.3 million as revealed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) 2016 global tuberculosis report and stressed the need for partnership at all levels to end the scourge.
Scoring high the TB awareness campaign in the first four selected local government areas of Okrika, Khana, Obio/Akpor and Ahoada-East of the State, Esiet expressed hope that the programme would get to the other local governments in the state thereby making it a free TB state in the nearest future.
“That is the important reason why we are working with the State tuberculosis control programme manager. What we have done is like an experiment. Now that it has worked, the state TB control programme will take it forward and they have assured us that they will take it to the other local government areas of the state.
Earlier, the Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, Rivers State, Dr Kingsley Aleruchi thanked the Action Health Incorporated for its laudable efforts in the fight against TB and its spread in the state through the training of 80 community vanguards and 20 health workers across the first four selected survey local government of Okrika, Ahoada-East, Obio/Akpor and Khana.
Aleruchi who noted with dismay the high level of stigmatization and discrimination on persons with TB as revealed by the survey conducted by the AHI said such acts had further aided the spread and increase of TB scourge, pointing out that it demanded more awareness and community support to TB patients.
He said “with the increasing rate of the disease and the gap between persons with TB and the rest of the people, there is the need for more regular sensitization across the 23 local government areas of the state and this is to ensure that we rid the state and its communities of TB come 2030”.
It should be noted that TB is curable and the treatment free while calling on persons with a protracted cough of more than two weeks to visit the nearest TB facility for diagnosis and treatment.

 

Lady Godknows Ogbulu

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Commissioner Lauds Navy On Covid-19 Containment

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Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, has lauded efforts made so far by the Naval Command at Borokiri, Port Harcourt, towards checking the trend of the Covid-19 pandemic in the State.
Making the commendation recently when the naval medical team paid him a courtesy call in his office, the commissioner stated that the state government and Rivers people appreciate the fact that the naval health facility is made accessable to people living in their environment and beyond.
“The  Rivers State Government appreciates all your effort aimed at curbing the spread of the Corona Virus in line with your corporate social responsibility for host communities in the state by making your (health) facility accessible”, he said.
Prof Chike continued that, “the job of every health personnel is humanitarian. Lives of citizens of our country are paramount and should therefore not be compromised”.
While assuring that the state government is doing everything possible to fight the spread of the pandemic, the commissioner stated that he’ll personally pay occasional visits to the naval healthcare facility, and also assured of the preparedness of the state ministry of health to partner with other private healthcare delivery services.
“The State Ministry of Health (MOH) is committed in partnering with other private health facilities in the state to curb the spread of the ravaging pandemic”, he said.
Speaking earlier, the Commander, Naval Medical Centre Borikiri, Navy Captain U. O. Nzeribe-Agbangwu, said the navy health services were not restrained to its personnel but extended to other individuals who need to access the facility for heart care. 
The commander said, “over 70 percent of our patients are civilians, and, in line with our corporate social responsibility, we constructed a borehole for supply of water to the host community”.
Nzeribe-Agbangwu also expressed satisfaction over the support the Naval healthcare facility got from the ministry in the heat of the pandemic in 2020.

By: Sogbeba Dokubo

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Covid-19: Pregnant Woman, 15 Others Die In Edo

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The Edo State Government has confirmed the death of a 33-year-old pregnant woman at Stella Obasanjo Hospital in Benin and 15 other persons across other Covid-19 facilities.
Head of the state’s Coronavirus Case Management, Dr Ebomwonyi Osagie, who disclosed this at the daily press briefing on the virus, however, said that the victims were not vaccinated.
“This particular patient came in and died about three hours after presentation at the Stella Obasanjo Hospital; late presentation is a major issue in managing crisis.
“She is about 28 weeks pregnant, already having pre-eclampsia, so, the debate is actually if it is the pre-eclampsia that killed her or Covid-19.
“The woman has Covid-19, which pushed her more toward developing pre-eclampsia and then death. Some other women have pre-eclampsia and are successfully managed.
“Late presentation is an issue, because the patient died three hours after presentation, which means that there is little that would have been done to manage the situation, so, we are appealing to private hospitals to let patients go very early for treatment.
“So far, a total of 537 samples were collected, with a total of 1,004 confirmed cases, 103 recovered and were discharged and 16 deaths recorded within 48hours.
“We have 70 people in admission, 296 people in home care, 344 discharged and 50 deaths, since the outbreak of the pandemic,” Osagie said.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Osamwonyi Irowa, said that the cases were rising, with more people being admitted, just as the state was recording very high mortality from COVID-19.
Irowa further said that vaccination was fighting the pandemic and appealed to residents to avail themselves the opportunity of taking COVID-19 vaccines made available by the Federal and state governments.

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Agency Trains 40 Health Officers On Emergency Response

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The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) on Monday kicked off a two-week capacity building programme in Lagos for Nigerian experts on public health emergency response.
The training seeks to certify the first cohort of 40 participants drawn from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), state-level ministries of health, Nigeria Port Health Services, and  Nigerian military in the Public Health Emergency Management Professional Certification (PHEM PC).
The US-CDC Nigeria Country Director, Mary Boyd, said: “The devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic illustrates now more than ever the importance of ensuring the public health and health care systems can adequately prevent, respond to, and recover from health emergencies.
“Particularly those whose scale, timing, or unpredictability threatens to overwhelm routine capabilities,”  a statement by the mission in Lagos, quoted.
The Tide source reports that PHEM PC training, a first of its kind in Nigeria, adapted from US-CDC Atlanta, equips emergency managers, incident managers, state epidemiologists, first responders, watch managers, and other public health experts with the knowledge, competencies and skill sets they need to respond to public health emergencies.
During the intensive programme, participants will receive specialised training in crisis and emergency risk communication as well as public health emergency management functions and operations.
The PHEM training is part of the U.S. Government’s efforts to support pandemic preparedness globally.
The US-CDC, NCDC, and Georgetown University are collaborating to deliver this training.
In 2019, Nigeria became a Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) partner country committed to achieving GHSA 2024 targets and International Health Regulations (IHR) requirements.
US-CDC supports the Government of Nigeria (GON) to achieve these targets by strengthening workforce development, surveillance, emergency response, and laboratory capacity among other areas.

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