Executive Director, Grassroots Development and Empowerment (GRADE) Foundation, Dr. Patrick Amah has advised the citizenry to always seek medical attention over symptoms of Tuberculosis (TB).
Amah gave the advice in Enugu during a media training on Gender and Human Rights for Tuberculosis Programmes organised by GRADE Foundation and Centre for Development and Reproductive Health (CDRH), with support of Stop TB Partnership Challenge Facility For Civil Society (CFCS)
The one-day training themed: Empowering Women Drives Change, Project for the Promotion of Gender for Transformative and Right based TB programme involved journalists, on-air personalities, bloggers, and content creators from Anambra and Ebonyi States.
The medical expert regretted that rather seek medical help when infected by TB, patients tend to be superstitious and spiritual over the matter, jumping from one church to another for solution.
He explained that the training was targeted at equiping the media to assist in disseminating information about TB for those yet to be informed so they could start early to prevent the scourge.
He said, “People die of TB because of ignorance, superstition and late presentation. Some will even link it to food poisoning and be going from one spiritual house to another seeking for solution.
“If you have cough that persists for two weeks or more, go for test that’s what we’re saying. We want to take advantage of the different media outlets to disseminate the information to the grassroots.
“We decided to lay more emphasis on women because in the past, it has been men affair. Now we want to reverse the trend to involve the women.
“One, they are more in number. Secondly, they talk a lot, so more people will hear them more than they hear the men. That’s even the main reason the proposal for the training was approved.”
On TB risk factors, Amah said “you have to be conscious of your environment. Because TB is an airborne disease, you never can tell when and where it will come from. Everybody should be wise”
Also speaking, Executive Director, Centre for Development and Reproductive Health (CDRH), Dr Alobu Isaac decried lack of infection control mechanisms in various health facilities across the country.
He said several health workers have lost their lives as a result of lack of such control measures and negligence in the hospitals.
Describing infection control as critical in any health facility setting, Alobu explained that the measure involved protection of not only health workers and patients, but visitors alike against any infectious disease.
“We’ve actually lost lots of health workers both in medical and paramedical due to lack of adequate infection control measures in our hospitals, whether tetiary, secondary or primary.
“We have different components of infection control. Administrative aspect focuses on measures by hospital administrators to make sure infection transmission within the hospital are properly contained.
“Some of the administrative measures include putting signages on strategic entrances to indicate directions to various units in the hospital.
“These limits chances of infectious patients visiting the hospital from spreading the disease before finally settling in their appropriate units to be taken care of.
“Another aspect is personal protective measures. The commonest ones include washing of hands, wearing appropriate protective gadgets, like face or nose masks and handgloves to reduce chances of getting infected especially for airborne diseases.
“Again is the physical or environmental protective measures like ensuring arrangements of windows. Windows are supposed to be regularly opened for proper and cross ventilation. Anything contrary impedes ventilation and enhances transmission of infectious diseases.
“Use of ultra violet lights in very highly infectious areas like laboratories is yet another component. These lights can kill the pathogens and sterilizing the entire environment, making it safe for work.
“Again is proper clerking of patients. When they come, there’s need for proper history taking. This can help dictate the status of the patient and be subjected to proper investigation and immediate treatment.
“History taking of patients will go a long way to interrupt the transmission chain and safeguard visitors and other patients and health workers.
“Moreover is the place of education for behavioral changes of hospital workers, including the security guards. The infection control supposed to begin from the hospital entrance. Those manning the gate must be properly educated to direct visitors aright.”