The World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrates World Tuberculosis Day annually on March 24th and is calling on all to “Unite To End Tuberculosis (TB)” as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. This call goes out to nations, healthcare workers and communities to rise and defeat this deadly disease responsible for 1.5 million deaths worldwide (9.6 million people fell ill) and over 200,000 deaths in Nigeria in 2014. The National TB and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) reported over 600,000 new cases of TB in Nigeria in 2014, with 91,354 cases placed on treatment. A lot is can still be done to end this disease.
Nigeria ranks 10 on the WHO’s 22 highest-burdened TB countries list.
How is TB Contracted?
TB is caused by bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis that most often affect the lungs. TB is curable and preventable.
It is spread from person to person through the air. When people with TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the causative bacteria particles into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these particles to become infected
About one-third of the world’s population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not (yet) ill with the disease and cannot transmit the disease
People infected with TB bacteria have a 10% lifetime risk of falling ill with TB. However, persons with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a much higher risk of falling ill.
When a person develops active TB disease, the symptoms (cough, fever, night sweats, weight loss etc.) may be mild for many months. This can lead to delays in seeking care, and results in transmission of the bacteria to others. People with active TB can infect 10-15 other people through close contact over the course of a year. Without proper treatment, 45% of HIV-negative people with TB on average and nearly all HIV-positive people with TB will die.
Who Is At Risk?
Tuberculosis mostly affects adults in their most productive years. However, all age groups are at risk
- Over 95% of cases and deaths are in developing countries
- Women & Children
- Tobacco use greatly increases the risk of TB disease and death. More than 20% of TB cases worldwide are attributable to smoking
- People who are infected with HIV and other immunity-impairing disease conditions are 20 to 30 times more likely to develop active TB
Can TB Be Treated? How?
The good news is TB is preventable and curable. It can be treated! Early diagnosis and treatment is key
- Diagnosis and treatment of TB can be carried out by a professional healthcare personal, usually after suspect chest x-rays and testing
- The standard recommended tuberculin test is the Mantoux test, which is administered by injecting a 0.1 mL of liquid containing 5 TU (tuberculin units) PPD (purified protein derivative) into the top layers of skin of the forearm. Skin tests should be read 48-72 hours after the injection
- Multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) is compounded by inappropriate treatment of TB through wrong dosage regimens and non-compliance by patients
- Please ensure to get medical advice if you or your loved ones suspect TB
- Medication & Treatment through Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) is available across private and government healthcare facilities nationwide.
How Can We Prevent TB? Let’s Make The Pledge To Stop TB Today!
Let’s pledge to:
- To take our infants and children under 15 who have never received the BCG vaccine for BCG vaccina-
tion. These are available nation-wide in private and government healthcare facilities
- Stop Smoking
- Practice safe sex habits such as abstinence or the use of latex condoms
- Practice personal hygiene habits such as:
- covering your mouth when coughing
- Washing your hands before and after meals, and after using the bathroom
- Dispose of waste properly
- Go for routine check-up especially when there are related signs and symptoms
- Encourage our loved ones to seek medical and professional help when signs and symptoms exist.
Read Also- [Top 10 Questions About Tuberculosis]