Akwa Ibom reports 3,291 tuberculosis cases in 4 months

By Innocent Raphael

Akwa Ibom State has reported 3,291 tuberculosis (TB) cases between January and April 2024.

This was disclosed by Dr. Bassey Akpan, Program Manager of the Akwa Ibom State Tuberculosis, Buruli Ulcer, and Leprosy Control Program under the Ministry of Health.

Akpan disclosed these figures during a recent media review meeting hosted by Breakthrough Action-Nigeria in Uyo, the state capital, as he confirmed that all diagnosed patients are currently undergoing treatment.

The Program Manager highlighted that this number brings the state to over 90 percent of its target for identifying missing TB cases.

He emphasized the importance of continued efforts to diagnose TB, noting that a single undetected case can infect over 1,300 people within three years.

A significant challenge remains in diagnosing TB in children, as they often do not exhibit typical symptoms like a cough or sputum production, Dr. Akpan noted, stating that TB could manifest as extrapulmonary disease, such as unilateral mumps with a cold abscess.

He further urged parents and caregivers to seek medical evaluation for their children if they notice symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, persistent fever, night sweats, or general malaise.

With the availability of portable TB detector machines, he disclosed that the disease can be diagnosed more effectively at smaller health facilities.

“Between January and now, we found 3,291 cases of tuberculosis, achieving over 90 percent of our target, which is quite laudable. All of them have been placed on treatment. Last year, we had over 10,800 cases. Finding TB in children is crucial because one untreated case can infect over 1,300 people in three years. We must find the missing cases,” Dr. Akpan said.

He also warned the public to be cautious about coughing in public and advised maintaining distance from those who cough to prevent reinfection among treated patients.

Bassey Nsa, State Coordinator for Breakthrough ACTION-Nigeria, also spoke at the meeting, calling for increased media collaboration to raise awareness and promote behavioral change regarding TB and other health issues at the community level.

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