Thursday, 28 March 2013

HIV and Tuberculosis Patients Advised To Seek Free Medical Care at Health Centres In Rivers State

By Chioma Andy
In a bid to treat the cases of Tuberculosis (TB) in Rivers State, and to commemorate with World Health Organization on its fight against TB, Rivers State Government announced that it has provided 141 health centres that would see to the treatment of tuberculosis for patients at no cost.

The state Commissioner for Health, Dr. Tamunoiyoriari Parker, stated this while speaking at an event to commemorate the 2013, World TB Day with the theme “Stop TB in my life Time” in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, 27.

According to Parker, he said that in 2011, the State Tuberculosis Programme registered a total of 2,309 cases for treatment out of which 1,460 cases were infectious. And in 2012, 2592 cases were registered with 1,538 infectious cases.
He said that the death rate from TB is about 6.8 per cent, stating that the State Governments target is to eliminate TB as a public health problem by the year 2050.

Pointing out the ways through which tuberculosis could be contacted, the Commissioner explained that it could spread through the air. He said that when an infected person coughs or sneezes, the droplets from the person contaminates the air and infects unprotected person who inhales it.

Parker also said that it could be spread through drinking contaminated cow milk which can affect the abdomen, bones, skin, lymph nodes or any part of the body.
The commissioner therefore called on any person that coughs for three  weeks or more, looses weight, runs  fever or sweats profusely mostly at night to go for a checkup and if found to have TB, would be treated free of charge.

The commissioner in another development also mentioned that about 300, 000 people are living with the Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) in the State.
Parker made mention of this during the activation of 50 new sites for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission Services (PMTCT) and 50 additional sites for HIV Counselling and testing at the Elekahia Model Primary Health Centre in Port Harcourt.

He said that over 50, 000 persons living with the virus have been placed on free anti-retroviral treatment, care and support at various comprehensive treatment sites spread across the State.
He added further that over 60, 000 persons were tested at no cost last year in more than 200 service delivery points across the State.

Parker said PMTCT is unique, safe, available, affordable and scientifically effective, and it is a locally adapted sustainable intervention programme which cuts across four Millennium Development Goals.
According to him all relevant health care workers at every selected site have been trained to effectively render the services.
He therefore urged the affected to go for anti-retroviral drugs and test kits which are currently in stock at the new sites.

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