Commissioner for Health, Dr Vincent Okpala, says Anambra Government will continue to sustain every intervention measures aimed at eliminating the scourge of Tuberculosis (TB) in the state.Dr Okpala described the theme for this year’s World tuberculosis Day: “The Clock Is Ticking’’ as apt and captured the need for increased action as the world was running out of time to stamp out the disease.
“It also conveys the sense that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments to end TB agreed on by global leaders.
“This is especially critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put TB progress at risk, and to ensure equitable access to prevention and care in line with WHO’s directive,’’ he said.
The commissioner, who was fielding questions from newsmen shortly after a road show to create awareness about the disease, called on everyone to keep the promise by working to ensure a tuberculosis free state.
“Each year, we commemorate World Tuberculosis Day on every March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.
“Anambra is among the 22 high burdened states with the disease as it recorded not less than 3,000 new cases last year: I assure of government’s commitment to control its spread.’’
Dr Okpala, described government partnership with the donor agencies in the fight against the disease as very fruitful and meaningful.
He added that the state had continued to record positive gains as well as lots of accolades over the years.
“There is a need to accelerate the end tuberculosis response to reach the target set by Millennium Development Goals (MDG) by the United Nations aimed at reaching 30 million people with preventive treatment by 2020.
According to him, an estimated $13 million is to be raised through sustainable financing for TB response and research.
State Director Medical Services/TB Programme Manager, Dr Ugochukwu Chukwulobelu, commended KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, World Health Organisation and other partners in the state for their support to eliminate TB.Earlier, State Deputy Programme Manager, Tuberculosis, Leprosy and Buruli Ulcer Programme, Mr Edochie Ezebunafo, said the road show was necessary to educate people about what they need to know concerning the disease.
Mr Ezebunafo described the disease as chronic and infectious, he urged people suffering from the disease to access treatment in all health facilities in the state, stressing, “the treatment is free of charge and safe’’.
He, then, said the more aware people know about tuberculosis, the sooner the burden would be reduced. In attendance during the event include Permanent Secretary, Mr Linus Nwankwo, and Dr Ebuka Ugwu, WHO Surveillance Officer.