By Nimot Adetola Sulaimon
Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu has restated the commitment of the State government to bringing an end to preventable deaths arising from tuberculosis.
Sanwo-Olu joined policymakers, stakeholders and partners in the fight against TB to commemorate 2021 World TB Day in Lagos with an awareness walk and an engagement meeting.
According to her, the State government is determined, now more than ever, to change the narrative of high TB prevalence in Lagos and its enviable position as the State with the highest TB burden.
She noted that the State government through the Ministry of Health has expanded the TB Directly Observed Treatment Shortcourse (DOTS) Centres from 1,047 in 2018 to 1,257 in 2020 as part of the goal to offer treatment to TB patients.
Furthermore, that the State government with support from global funds has also conducted training for community care workers to provide quality TB care, procured and deployed 18 X-ray machines to health facilities in the State and provided 31 GeneXpert sites in 20 local government areas of the State.
“We recently launched three Mobile X-ray vans to increase active case search in the State which hitherto will improve diagnosis, treatment and an overall increase in TB case finding”, She added.
While noting that evidence abounds around the world that there are successes in TB prevention and control, Dr Sanwo-Olu who doubles as the State TB Ambassador opined that increased awareness, diagnosis, treatment and care of TB cases will help achieve the goal of TB eradication.
“It is germane to state here once again, that TB is preventable, curable, and the treatment is free. It has become pertinent to increase general awareness, ensure effective service delivery, including diagnosis, treatment, and care by improving access to TB diagnosis and treatment services”, Sanwo-Olu stated.
The State TB Ambassador stated that the theme of 2021 World TB day; “The Clock is Ticking’ is very apt stressing that it is reminding everyone that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments made by global leaders to end TB.
“This running out of time is also influenced by the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and it is necessary we scale up access to prevention and care of TB. World Tuberculosis Day is an important day to remember as it creates public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of Tuberculosis”, she added.
While appreciating stakeholders in the fight against TB, Sanwo-Olu said that TB is becoming more prevalent noting that its control must be a global agenda in which everyone must show commitment and be part of the fight to bring the disease to an end.
Earlier, the commissioner for health, Prof. Akin Abayomi appreciated the First lady for taking the lead in expanding the awareness of Tuberculosis in the state.
Abayomi stated that tuberculosis is a silent killer and must be prioritized as a public health strategy. He hinted that 28,000 people globally get tuberculosis every day out of which 4,000 people lose their lives on a daily basis.
“In Nigeria, just half a million people are diagnosed annually and it is saddening to know that Nigeria ranks sixth in the world amongst countries contributing to global TB burden and is now number one in Africa with an expected diagnosis of 440,000 TB patients in a year.
“TB awareness is therefore crucial as the disease is a significant cause of ill health and death in Lagos State. As a government, we are committed and we will go to any length to address the challenge of under-diagnosis of TB in Lagos State,
“Dr, Ibijoke Sanwoolu is the Lagos champion for tuberculosis and it is indeed very befitting that we have such a prominent person taking the lead and expanding the awareness and importance of Tuberculosis’, the Commissioner said.
He disclosed that the State government is actively managing TB across the 27 General Hospitals, over 300 primary health care facilities and numerous private sector facilities which add up to about 1200 health facilities.
Also present at the Awareness Walk and Stakeholders’ Engagement Meeting are the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Dr Olusegun Ogboye; Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Health, Dr Ore Finnih; Former Super Eagles Striker, Daniel Amokachi and representatives of partnering organizations.