Vilologist urges government to deploy Ebola strategy to reduce TB prevalence rate

The Chief Executive Officer, Institute of Human Virology of Nigeria (IHVN), Dr Patrick Dakum, has urged the Federal Government to deploy same strategy it adopted to contain Ebola for its Tuberculosis (TB) control programme. He said a robust community awareness campaign as employed during the Ebola outbreak could help in reversing the figures projected in the recently released TB prevalence survey report.

You prevent it by first of all addressing those that are suspects and making sure that you contain the infection. If you do not want TB to spread we should first of all ensure that nobody is having the micro bacterium and is coughing it around the community. Once we identify those people we isolate them for the purpose of treatment. Now once we do that on a large scale, we reduce the transmission and, therefore, we reduce this huge number of millions projected.

Because, the projection is that if we do not do something about finding those who have the disease and treating them very promptly, we run the risk of having several other people contracting it. Every additional index case you get is a potential for spreading to other people. “So, the onus lies on us to raise awareness, all stakeholders, the onus lies on our system, the health care system being able to isolate the individuals who have it and providing them with prompt care.’’

Dakum allayed the fears that many Nigerians could be infected with TB as projected in the TB prevalence survey report. He said the mortality rate for TB when compared to Ebola and other communicable diseases was low, stressing that TB could be treated and managed if identified early enough.

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