Eighty per cent of people infected with Tuberculosis in Plateau fall within the productive age group of 15 and 54, Dr. Kuden Deyin, Commissioner for Health, said on Tuesday in Jos.
Deyin said that the figure was based on a survey conducted by the ministry in 2016.
“Out of 2,493 cases recorded in 2016, 1,998 of the patients, which constitute 80 per cent, were within the productive age group of 15 to 54 years; this is a great threat to the economic growth of the state,” he said.
He said that the disease, if not controlled, would bring the the Plateau economy to its knees “in the next few years”.
The commissioner said that Plateau had consistently paid its counterpart funds to secure free treatment for Tuberculosis patients, but regretted that some issues had made the control of the diseases rather difficult.
He identified the issues to include inadequate equipment and manpower to clinically ascertain the correct status of suspected cases.
Another impediment is the difficulty in accessing certain terrains, where some patients, believed to be infected with the disease, reside.
The official suggested that the treatment and diagnosis of Tuberculosis be integrated into the main stream of the health care delivery system so that every clinic, no matter how remote, should be able to detect the micro-organism that causes the disease.
“Such clinic should also be able to administer treatment as it is absolutely free,” he said.
He also suggested that traditional healers and patent medicine vendors should be trained to identify the basic symptoms of the disease, pointing out that those groups were usually the first medics visited by patients in the rural areas.
“Training the traditional healers and patent medicine dealers on how to identify the symptoms of Tuberculosis and referring them to the nearest hospital or clinic, where they can access treatment, is very fundamental to saving lives,” he said.
The commissioner listed symptoms of the disease to include night sweat, fever, loss of weight, chest pain, difficulty in breathing and blood in the mucus, while coughing.
Deyin advised people with such symptoms to visit the nearest hospital for prompt attention.
He also advised patients to complete their medication to avoid complications that could result into multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis.
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