Institute Advises Early Tests For TB


People should go for early test as part of efforts to effectively control tuberculosis in Nigeria as well as to curtail TB drug resistance, a virologist has advised.

Dr. Patrick Dakum, the Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Human Virology, Nigeria, made the call in Abuja when he featured on the forum of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

He stated that although early detection of the disease was important, consistent use of prescribed drugs by patients was equally necessary.

“The first thing for the purpose of the public is to just screen yourself.

“And it’s easy to go to any primary health care centre if you have any cough; if you have any relation that is coughing even if he says it’s just catarrh, go and just have your sputum checked; do routine chest x-rays.

“If we get community TB prevention taking place, by identifying positive cases and putting them on treatment, we will be going a long way.

“The Institute of Human Virology is involved at all of those levels; one is at the community level trying to ensure that community TB prevention is taking place; aeration for houses; ensuring that index cases are treated; referring people to go to primary health care centres for simple TB screening.

“Then at the higher facilities, we have even provided mobile x-ray machines to a number of facilities to enable them go into the community and then carry out intensive case finding.

Dakum emphasised that the community must also play a major role in fighting TB.

“I think we will not have much success unless we have the community structures properly working.

“In terms of health intervention, whether it is prevention or treatment, every community is supposed to have a Ward Development Committee that is supposed to be made of the gate-keepers of information.

“They are supposed to be identifying what the prevalent health issues are and then talking to their communities in their different fora on how to mitigate the effect.”

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To fight drug resistance by tuberculosis, Dakum said that identified cases must thoroughly be treated while treatment must be completed.

He pointed out that Nigeria had just completed a survey of TB drug resistance and the result would soon be presented by the National TB Control Programme.

“We definitely have something in the region of between one and two per cent which is pretty really high for the population that we have.

“In Nigeria if you say something is point one per cent, when you translate it to a total figure, it amounts to a lot.

“However, we’d get the actual result when it is formally presented.”

Dankum stressed that resistance virus in TB must be detected noting that the institute was supporting some hospitals in conducting related research.

“The other thing is to detect the resistant virus and we have supported a number of hospitals particularly the Zaria TB treatment centre.

“ It’s a training centre which established bio-safety Level 3 TB culture labs.

“Then we are also establishing a number of hospitals, what we call Lima Pro; it is a molecular system for drug resistant TB

Dakum noted that the institute was also collaborating with the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme and some stakeholders on the need to detect what is responsible for the virus.

He said that TB was a very active infection, pointing out that if drug resistant TB was not addressed, then treatment would be too expensive, while mortality rate could increase. (NAN)

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