World TB Day: Lagos intensifies case finding




As part of efforts to eliminate Tuberculosis (TB) in Lagos State, the state Ministry of Health on Sunday said it had intensified case finding in all 26 general hospitals across the state.

Dr Daniel Sokoya, Programme Manager, Lagos State Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer, made this known in Lagos.

He spoke against the backdrop of the World Tuberculosis Day, celebrated every March 24.

The event is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of Tuberculosis and efforts to eliminate the disease.

According to him, we want to end Tuberculosis just the same way we ended Polio.

“For us to eliminate TB in Lagos State, we have strengthened case finding in our government hospitals.

“What do I mean by this; every patient that walks in at the General Outpatient Department in the hospital and is coughing, we make sure the person undergoes oral screening.

“Why we do this is for us to be able to easily identify people suspected to have Tuberculosis before the test can be done on them,” Sokoya said.

He said also that government had engaged cough officers who would screen patients starting with 50 high burden TB health facilities in the state, all geared toward kicking TB out of Lagos.

He explained that their jobs would be to identify cases on time, diagnose and put them up for treatment.

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Sokoya urged people to be their brother’s keeper by bringing anyone who had coughed for more than two weeks to the hospital for check-up.

He advised people to always cover their mouth, nose and hand whenever they were coughing.

Sokoya also urged people not to stay in overcrowded places that were not well ventilated to avoid contracting the disease.

He said that the disease was curable, preventable and treatable, saying that its treatment was only for six months.

Sokoya said plans were underway to hold house-to-house sensitisation in communities, using mobile vans.

“Our routine system, that is our health facility, both private and government, only detect and diagnose 20 per cent of Tuberculosis in the state and country at large.

“The remaining 80 per cent are in the community yet undiagnosed.

“So we want to be aggressive this time around so that we can capture a lot of people,” he said.

He noted that stigmatisation was one reason people refused to show up for screening.

Sokoya urged patients not to feel humiliated, saying that rather, they should know that tuberculosis was not as bad as hypertension and diabetes, where a patient would take drugs for life.