NTBLCP Warns Nigerians: Tuberculosis is not caused by witchcraft
The Federal Ministry of Health’s National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme (NTBLCP) has cautioned Nigerians that tuberculosis is a contagious illness that cannot be attributed to witchcraft. Speaking at the 2023 Pre-World TB Day Press Conference, which was co-hosted by Stop TB Partnership Nigeria and the NTBLCP, Dr Chukwuma Anyaike, the National Coordinator of NTBLCP, clarified that tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium called mycobacterium tuberculosis that can only be contracted by inhaling it when it is suspended in the air.
He added that the disease cannot be transmitted by handshaking or hugging, and that the course of the illness is determined by the body’s immune system.
Dr Anyaike stated that Nigeria, which is the sixth most affected country in the world and the most affected country in Africa, needs to raise awareness about tuberculosis. He urged the media to assist in increasing awareness, adding that while progress has been made in informing the public, there is still a long way to go. He also noted that primary prevention entails raising awareness, and that this should be done more frequently than just once a year.
Dr Anyaike praised Nigeria’s progress in controlling tuberculosis, highlighting the identification of more than 285,000 cases in 2022 as a significant milestone. Despite this accomplishment, he emphasized that there is still a long way to go in the fight against the disease, and urged Nigerians to continue working together with passion and commitment.