The Anambra government says it has approved establishment of additional 110 Directly Observed Treatments (DOTS) centres for Tuberculosis (TB) patients to reduce the burden of the disease.
The new centres would bring to 690, the number of TB centres in the state from the initial 580.
Dr Ugochukwu Chukwulobelu, Programme Manager, Anambra State Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Management, said this in an interview with newsmen on Friday in Awka.
Chukwulobelu said the increase in the TB-DOTS centres would ensure easy access and sustain interventions aimed at eliminating the scourge of TB in the state.
“When it comes to TB, Anambra is one of the high burdened states in the country.
“It was estimated that one in every ten residents in the state has TB, also in the last quarter of 2020, we diagnosed 1,002 new cases.
“The Gov. Willie Obiano led-administration and our partners recognised this problem and they are investing in the establishment of more TB-DOTS centres across the state,” he said.
He explained that DOTS were centres for testing and treatment of TB to reduce the number of cases, and also where healthcare workers observe patients as they take their medicine.
“The test or diagnosis is free, treatment is free and people need not travel far to get diagnosed or treated for TB,” he said.
Chukwulobelu described TB as an airborne disease caused by a bacteria called mycobacterium tuberculosis, which usually attacked the lungs and could also damage other parts of the body.
According to him, it spreads through the air when a person with tuberculosis of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, or talks.
“TB is treatable and curable if detected early. It may lead to death if not detected and treated early and this is why we want to equip our people with the right knowledge to avoid casualties from TB cases.
“Persistent cough of two weeks or more may be due to TB and needs to be further investigated and residents are advised to report suspected cases of TB within their communities.
“I’m also appealing to TB patients not only to adhere to TB treatments but also to make use of the DOTS centres.
“We will only make headway in the fight against TB if patients learn to use DOTS centres,” he said.