Public Apathy To Tuberculosis Worries Public Health Pharmacists

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  • As APHePoN experiences huge turnout at 2017 World Tuberculosis Screening

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to celebrate the World Tuberculosis Day, no fewer than a hundred people have benefited from the 2017 Tuberculosis / Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) awareness and screening campaign organised by Association of Public Health Pharmacists of Nigeria (APHePoN) in collaboration with the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria (PSN).

The screening exercise which took place on March 24, 2017, at Shitta roundabout in the heart of Surulere, Lagos attracted traders, artisans, youth corps members and sportsmen coming out of the National Stadium.

Much as the participants were enthusiastic about getting tested, it was apparent that many of them have little or no knowledge of the disease.

Mr Ajani Badmus, a pensioner and one of the beneficiaries told Pharmanews that he voluntarily came for out for the free screening exercise despite not knowing the type of ailments that the organisers were wailing about.

“At 83, I have nothing to be scared of. I just came to validate what I already know. Whether it was TB or HIV, I know I don’t have them. Besides, what have I got to lose when the testing is free? That notwithstanding, I appreciate the wonderful job you people are doing here today,” he said.

Mrs Ayisat Ibrahim, another participant, seemed to share the same view. The facial therapist claimed that other than being contagious and deadly, she knew little about tuberculosis.

“That is why I partake in all these tests on quarterly basis. Apart from mosques and churches, we don’t get to witness this type of awareness and screening frequently in Surulere. I am happy however that we still have good people that offer such services for free,” she stressed.

Aside some youth corps members (names withheld) who showed that they are abreast of the infection, the last respondent, Mr Wasiu Adeyinfa, a commercial tricycle rider wasn’t different.

“I must confess that the last time I had a similar test conducted on me by these same people sometime last year. Though I cannot even remember what test it was specifically. I have since been encourage to always make good use of such opportunity whenever it comes up.

“I have been hearing about tuberculosis, I really don’t know what it is all about. However I have learnt some things today from their lectures. We are blessed to have this kind of free initiatives among us (less privileged) as people at the top don’t really have our time,” he enthused.

Addressing journalists at the event, Dr Arinola Joda, secretary, Association of Public Health Pharmacists of Nigeria (APHePoN) declared that Tuberculosis is an infection that usually affects the lungs.

Joda explained that it is the leading killer of HIV-positive person and can be spread from person to person through the air.

“Nigeria is among the six countries with the highest burden of TB which claimed 1.8 million lives in 2015. However the good news is that tuberculosis is not only curable but preventable. Not taking TB drugs daily as prescribed could make the bacterium stubborn and more deadly,” she warned.

The incumbent PSN publicity secretary further highlighted fever, night sweating, continual weight loss, fatigue, chest pains and cough lasting three or more weeks as suggestive symptoms of the disease.

On why APHePoN is lagging when compared with other arms of PSN, Joda explained that the association is still young, adding that the tuberculosis screening is actually the second major programme it is hosting in three years.

“We are gradually working our way up and I believe we will get there very soon. Besides, APHePoN have concluded plans to embark on massive awareness and educating programmes on quarterly basis,” she reassured.

In attendance at the event were Pharm. Moyosore Adejumo, director of pharmaceutical service, Lagos State; Chief Yetunde Morohunda, former national chairman, Association of Lady Pharmacists (ALPs); Pharm. Bridget Okocha, zonal chairman, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN); ACPN Pharm. Afusat Adesina, senior pharmacy specialist, Howard University on SIDHAS (Strengthening Integrated Delivery on HIV/AIDS Services) project and Dr Olubusola Olugbake.

 

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