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IHVN identifies 10,000 people with drug-resistant TB

By Dan-Maryam Zayamu 
The Institute of Human Virology Nigeria has disclosed that as at September 2021, it has identified close to 10,000 people with drug resistant Tuberculosis (TB).
The Chief Executive Officer of the IHVN, Dr. Patrick Dakum, disclosed this at 2-day conference organised by the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ), in Narasawa state, weekend.
The conference was with the theme- Improving confidence in COVID-19 vaccine beyond 2021: The role of the media.
Represented by Pharm Moses Hagai, the IHVN boss said: “As at September, 2021, we had supported the treatment of 524,404 people living with HIV in Nigeria, provided HIV counseling and testing services to more than 16 million individuals, identified close to 10,000 people with drug-resistant tuberculosis,  trained over 47,000 health care providers and conducted numerous researches on HIV, tuberculosis, cancer amongst other diseases.
“Although Nigeria recorded a gain in its fight against TB in 2020, Nigeria ranks sixth among 30 TB High Burden countries in the world and has the highest burden in Africa. “As such necessitates a continuous strategic intervention by the federal government, the WHO, and partners to reduce the burden of the disease in the country by 2030.”
According to him, his organization had since begun  working with the private sector including patent medicine vendors, community pharmacies, private laboratories and faith-based organizations to screen and refer tuberculosis patients for treatment in hospitals in 21 states.  
He further revealed that his organisation’s   innovative approaches in its 5-year project to scale up Tuberculosis (TB) services and find missing cases has led to the identification of more than 14,000 cases in Lagos, Ogun, Oyo and Osun states since April 2020. 
In just two years, he said:  “through this project, the private sector has contributed with the notification of more than 71,000 tuberculosis patients.”
He, however, noted that the media remains a critical stakeholder in sustaining health awareness, promoting a healthy society and driving social change.
IHVN, according to him,  has continued to be a leader in health service implementation, capacity building, and research, and ensuring equitable access to individuals and communities through innovative and evidence-based strategies.
Speaking earlier, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Nigeria, Communication Officer, Charity Warigon, charged the media to continue to remind Nigerians on the need to protect themselves from COVID-19 by imbibing on both the pharmaceutical and non pharmaceutical measures.
According to Warigon: “Our messaging must continue to remind the public that, for the foreseeable future, we must continue to wear masks, physically distance, and avoid crowd.
“Being vaccinated doesn’t mean that we can throw caution to the wind and put ourselves and others at risk: relaxing public health and social measures interventions should be done cautiously and with careful attention paid to those who remain unvaccinated. 
“WHO remains resolute in sustaining this mutually beneficial partnership with AHNEJ, towards promoting health and wellbeing, keeping the world safe and serving the vulnerable, to achieve Universal Health Coverage and ensure that no one is left behind.”
She applauded the Nigerian media for being professional by rising to the test of the COVID-19 hesitancy by educating, mobilizing, and creating awareness amongst the populace, despite all challenges.  
Warigon, therefore charge the media to, ensure the provision of accurate, timely, credible, understandable, relevant, and actionable information through various communication channels.
In his address of welcome, the President, Association of Nigeria Health Journalists (ANHEJ), Hassan Zaggi, expressed concern that despite the effort of the Federal Government to achieving herd immunity against the Corona virus, some enemies of progress  were working hard to frustrate the efforts.The two-day conference, according to him  will focus towards finding workable strategies on how health journalists can convince Nigerians to take the COVID-19 vaccines.
“As critical stakeholders in the sector, we are  gathered here, once again, but this time, to brainstorm on the uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We are also concerned that if urgent actions are not taken, the federal government’s target to vaccinate 55 million residents of Nigeria by the end of January, 2022, which is 50% of the target population, may not be visible.
“The apathy in the uptake the COVID-19 vaccine by our people, the outright lies and falsehood being spread by enemies of the country concerning the vaccine is the reason we are here today,” Zaggi said.

Written by ExpressDay

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