Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria that generally affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, says the director of Technical Programs, KNCV TB Foundation, Nigeria, Dr. Sani Useni.
The director said general signs and symptoms of TB include fever, chills, night sweats, loss of appetite, weight loss, and fatigue. „Significant nail clubbing may also occur. If a tuberculosis infection does become active, it most commonly involves the lungs (in about 90% of cases). Symptoms may include chest pain and a prolonged cough producing sputum (thick saliva),“ he explained.
How can one prevent TB? Useni said a vaccine, BCG (bacille Calmette-Guerin), is used to prevent TB, adding that it is more effective in children and its efficacy in adults is inconsistent.
He also cautioned that one should ensure use /wear mask if a family member is known to be infected at home; keep separate utensils and room if possible; keep the most vulnerable kids or aged persons away from the infected person; avoid large gatherings; wash hands or sanitize regularly when outside the house; avoid wearing wet or half wet clothes; keep the house sufficiently ventilated; clean AC ducts of car and home regularly and follow (and) educate on cough and sneeze etiquette.
„If contacted or if you think you have been exposed to someone with TB disease, or you have been coughing for two weeks or more, you should dial the number 3340 for free TB testing. Be sure to tell the doctor or nurse that you spent time with the person who has TB disease,“ he added.
As efforts to tackle TB in Nigeria, the director said, Stop TB Partnership Nigeria is the multi-stakeholder partnership dedicated to complement the efforts of the government and other stakeholders to end the scourge of TB in Nigeria, adding that it fulfils its mandate by advocating for increased political commitment, support and funding that such a significant challenge deserves.
„The Partnership comprises of government, parliamentarians, multi-lateral and bilateral organizations, development partners, private sector, academia, professional associations, civil society organisations, media and persons affected by TB. It is affiliated to the Global Stop TB Partnership, Geneva.
„Its vision is “Nigeria free of Tuberculosis”, and mission is to “work in partnership with all stakeholders to end TB in Nigeria”. Stop TB Partnership Nigeria advocates for increased domestic resources for TB through the government, corporate sector and other innovative funding mechanisms; supports linkages and collaboration between TB and other social determinants of health and broader development issues in Nigeria and increases public awareness and knowledge about TB by working with the media, entertainment industry and high profile personalities,“ he added.
Useni said, „This year’s world TB Day Theme is “Invest in TB, save lives” and our Nigerian slogan is “Give more, do more, end TB now”.
Government of Nigeria at all levels should increase domestic funding for TB testing and treatment