The federal government has raised alarm over the high level of tuberculosis in Anambra State, especially among children.
The Federal Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation and Breakthrough Action Nigeria, made the revelation during a meeting with journalists in the state.
Medical experts from the health ministry, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation and Breakthrough Action Nigeria emphasised the transmission, treatment and stigma associated with the disease.
Dr Oke Chijioke, Stella Eke and Mr Iheanacho Oji all warned that tuberculosis has now become very prevalent among children in Anambra State.
The speakers discouraged members of society from the stigmatisation of tuberculosis patients, urging people who suspect symptoms of the disease to seek medical help.
Chijioke said: “We know that the low childhood tuberculosis awareness and refusal by parents to have their children tested has remained a major bane of eradicating the disease.
“To test children for tuberculosis, you have to take their stool. This is because children do not know how to spit out sputum after coughing, rather they swallow them.
“But the challenge now is that parents refuse to let doctors have their children’s stool for the test. Some attribute such demands to fetishism while many attribute their illness to their uncles in the village. We need the media to sensitize the people about this.”
Mrs Eke gave some symptoms of tuberculosis to include, cough exceeding two weeks, weight loss, excessive sweating at night and others.
Earlier, the Programme Manager for childhood TB, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer at the health ministry, Dr Chukwulobelu Ugochukwu, delivered an opening remark during the programme and also presented a paper, informing that Anambra has 14 testing centres and over 800 treatment facilities across the state is treated through dedicated oral medication for six months, but after the first three months of medication, the patient will no longer be infectious,” he said.