Yemisi Ajayi Ibadan ,
The Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole disclosed that Nigeria is in a precarious position, going by the fact that the country currently sits in the fourth position among the countries with high tuberculosis (TB) cases in the world.
Adewole made the disclosure at the commissioning ceremony of TB laboratory equipment and launching of the standard procedure laboratory manual sponsored by Agbami Co-venturers in the Agbami field, held at Southwest TB referral laboratory, University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.
Agbami Co-Ventures comprises of five major oil companies namely: NNPC, Petrobras, Statoil, Famfa Oil and Chevron.
The N32million equipment is also has an alternative power supply comprising of a new power generating set and inverters.
The minister who stated that the fight against the spread of tuberculosis in the country should be collective, commended the sponsor of the project, Star Deepwater Petroleum Limited for recognizing the profitability of investment in the health sector noting that countries with improved social economy have adequate investment in health.
Said he, “Many countries that have recorded improvement in the social economic indicators have also invested in health adequately.
“If you look at Malaysia, Thailand, many of them, you will see an improvement in their health indicators and reduction in mortality and referral mortality before they record improvement in their social economic indicators.
“This is another reason why investment in health is a win-win, and that is why keying into TB is a must for all of us. TB remains an epidemic and this morning we were at the TB hospital in Ibadan, the message clearly is all of us must work together to really put the tag on TB that this is a disease that is preventable.
“We can diagnose it easily because it is treatable and curable. Nigeria is one of the top six countries in the world with high TB rate. We are number one in Africa, in fact we are number four in the world, I think second to Indonesia, China and Russia. So, we are there in a black position. We must work together to change the narrative about TB. So, Working together will enable us to make the correct diagnosis.
“About 80 percent of our TB cases remain undiagnosed. We are only able to diagnose roughly one out of six, in order words, there are five out of six cases out there undiagnosed and they represent threat to our own health.
“Because when you stay with somebody who has a TB person and you did not know, you can easily acquire the TB. So we need to really put a lot of noise, a lot of emphasis, educate the public that TB is there, real, and working together, we can diagnose and treat TB and it is curable. And the treatment is free, so you don’t even have to pay,”
The minister however advised people to avoid overcrowding, avoid contaminated food and get adequate exposure to fresh air to avoid contacting TB assuring that the equipment would help the Federal Government accelerate measures to curb the spread of TB cases in the country.
“When there is a case of cough lasting for more than two weeks, anybody with undiagnosed fever, sudden weight losss losing and producing blood stain sputum is a suspected case of TB and it should be reported. TB treatment is free,” he said
The minister also flaggrd-off the implementation shorter Muliti-Drug Resistant (MDR) TB treatment regimen at the Government Chest Hospital, Jericho in Ibadan.
The regimen which is an initiative of the Oyo State Government in collaboration with the Damien Fouundation and Institute of Human Virology Nigeria is to replace the currnet treatment which lasts for about 20 months. Gov. Abiola Ajimobi who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhji Olalekan Alli, said that the facility remained the one and only Extensive Drug Resistant Tuberculosis treatment centre in the country. “The treatment centre has reducednthe mortality and morbidity rate associated with drug Resistant TB and patients are able to return to productive lives. “It is therefore of note to appreciate Damien Foundation that has supported Oyo State in various ways,” he said.
In his address, the Director of one of the donor company’s co-venturers; Richard Kennedy, who was represented by the Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, Chevron Nigeria Limited, Sam Otuonye, said the laboratory were meant to help enhance healthcare delivery in this the hospital.
He said “we believe in the principle of doing the right things the right way using the right tools. To effectively adhere to this principle requires a good grasp of procedures. It is for this reason that we sponsored the production of the National Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for Tuberculosis Laboratory Diagnosis and the National Guidelines on Biosafety for Tuberculosis Laboratories.”
Representatives of other co-venturers in the Agbami fields- NAPIMS, Petrobras, FAMFA Oil Limited, also spoke on their companies commitment to improving the quality of healthcare in the society.
Earlier, the Chief Medical Director, UCH, Professor Temitope Alonge disclosed that the equipment will in no small measure transform the treatment of tuberculosis in the country adding that the facility is the best in diagnosis and treatment of TB.
He said “the equipment has everything you can talk of in diagnosis of tuberculosis. The staff are well trained and the patients are important to them. Henceforth, the story about treatment of tuberculosis would not be the same again.”
Personalities on the occasion include the host, Chief Medical Director, UCH, Professor Temitope Alonge, Director, Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Evelyn Ngige, National co-ordinator, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy control programmes, Dr Adebila Lawanson.
Others are: Managing Director, FAMFA Oil Limited, Modupe Alakija, represented by Mr Femi Adejumobi, General Manager NAPIMS, Mr Dafe Sejebor who was represented by Supervisor Community Development, Ahmed Abdulahi, Managing Director Petrobas who was also represented by the company’s Government Relations and Nigerian Content Development, Meg Irozuru.
Yemisi Ajayi Ibadan ,