The Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Health, Dr Dominic Ukpong, says the state government will eradicate tuberculosis from the state by 2030, under the Sustainable Developmental Goals of ending the epidemic.
The commissioner said this in Uyo on Thursday at the launch of the tuberculosis awareness campaign organised by the Action Health Incorporated.
Ukpong, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Bassey Ating, noted that tuberculosis was a known chronic and debilitating disease, responsible for high level of morbidity and mortality globally.
The commissioner said that the state government had repositioned the Ministry of Health in ensuring that all persons affected by the disease were actively sorted and treated accordingly.
The commissioner said that government efforts in checking the disease were not aimed at only achieving global set goal but also to have healthy and productive people.
He said state tuberculosis control programme, in its activities with partners and donors, had made great strides including awareness in the media and sensitisation of health workers.
“We must, however, emphasize that the fight to end TB is not just the fight of government.”
“It also involves all stakeholders in the community, to ensure that the disease becomes a thing of the past in our environment,” he said.
Ukpong added that government had stepped up tuberculosis awareness campaign in selected local government areas in the state, including Oron, Eket and Ibeno with had high prevalence rate.
He said that government would continue to educate the populace and correct misconceptions about the disease.
“We believe that with this drive and sustained efforts by all stakeholders, TB will be an issue of history by 2035.”
Earlier, the Director/Co-Founder of Action Health Incorporated, Dr Uwemedimo Eshiet, said that tuberculosis was one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
Eshiet, who was represented by Mr Tunde Onasanya, said that in 2016, 10.4 million people fell ill with TB while 1.7 million people died from the disease.
According to him, over 95 per cent of TB deaths occur in low and middle income countries.
“In 2016, estimated one million children became ill with tuberculosis and about 250, 000 children died of TB, including children with HIV associated tuberculosis.”
“Tuberculosis is a leading killer of people with HIV, in 2016, 40 per cent of HIV deaths were due to TB.”
“An estimated 53 million lives were saved worldwide through early tuberculosis diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2016,” Eshiet said.
He noted that ending the tuberculosis epidemic by 2030 was among the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Eshiet said that with the support from Agbami Partners, Action Health Incorporated had been able to collaborate with the Akwa Ibom Tuberculosis & Leprosy Control Programme to achieve the target.