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Call to save Liberia from TB disease

As Liberia joins the world in observance of International World Tuberculosis Day, the Organization for the Control and Eradication of Tuberculosis in Liberia (OFCET-Liberia)  has embarked on a major outdoor awareness and sensitization campaign on the cause, effect and prevention of the disease across the country.

The outdoor awareness and sensitization initiative particularly targets school going-kids and market women within Sinkor, so as to enhance their knowledge capacity on the causes, effects and prevention in order to mitigate the disease in the country.

During the celebration of the outdoor awareness at the Tubman High School in Sinkor and in the Market, hundreds of school going-kids and marketers from Sinkor and beyond had an interactive and intensive knowledge-sharing with volunteers of OFCET-Liberia, something which expanded their knowledge.

World TB Day is observed every year on 24 March to raise awareness about the infectious disease and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

However, on this day in 1882, Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes tuberculosis and a century later, the day was recognized as World TB Day.

This year’s celebration of World Tuberculosis Day was observed under the global theme: “Invest to End TB. Save Lives.” But OFCET-Liberia commemorated the day with the local them: Together, let’s act to save Liberia from TB disease” which aimed at celebrating the achievements and efforts made globally and locally in eradicating TB across the globe and locally.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), tuberculosis is around 3 million years old and had different names in different civilizations. 

TB was called “phthisis” in ancient Greece, “tabes” in ancient Rome, and “schachepheth” in ancient Hebrew. TB was also known as “consumption” in the 1800s. During the middle ages, TB of the neck and lymph nodes was called “scofula.” Scofula was believed to be a different disease from TB in the lungs.

Addressing School Kids and market-women at the William V.S. Tubman High School and the Jugkpan Town market in Sinkor, Dr. Amment G. Walters of the John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital and Volunteers of OFCET-Liberia cautioned market women and students on the danger of TB and how to go about with the prevention method.

Dr. Walters encouraged the gathering to seek medical advice if they come in contact with the symptoms of the disease, adding that the disease is curable but people die from the virus when they refuse to take the TB treatment and go for counseling.

“Listen to me, the symptoms of the disease take a person approximately two to three months to show the symptoms of the virus. If the virus is in the bone, some symptoms of the disease are fever, night sweats, weakness or tiredness and weight loss,” Dr. Walters noted.

He further explained that the virus is mostly common in the lungs and “It is expected that coughing longer than three weeks, chest pain, shortness of birth and blood stain in the cough are symptoms of [the] virus.

Due to the parts of the body affected by the TB bacteria, other symptoms may be showing, he added.

For her part, Mrs. Jimma P. Togba, RN/BSN of TB Anex and Voluntera of OFCET-Liberia stated that age is one of the factors that increases the risk of TB infection and getting in close proximity with an infected person.

“Children under five years who are not vaccinated against TB are at risk of getting the disease, so when a baby is bored outside of medical facilities due to distance or so, please carry the baby for [the] vaccine.” 

She further revealed that a person in high prevalence of TB are most likely to come in contact with the disease, adding, “Close contact to [a]patient or person with infectious pulmonary TB are risk to contact the disease.” 

Meanwhile, Miss. Evangeline T. Vernier, RN/BSN and trained nurse at the JFK, cautioned School Kids to observe the prevention methods of TB and admonished them to stay away from smoking and the intake of other harmful supplements that may trigger or expose them to the TB virus.

“You can have access to TB treatment at government hospitals across the country. For Sinkor, you can get the treatment free at JFK, TB Anex, amongst others. For those that [are] on the Bushrod Island, the treatment is also free at Redemption hospital, [and] Catholic Hospital in Logan Town, amongst others. Let us all join this fight to end TB,” she pleaded.

In recognition of their efforts to take the awareness to school – going Kids and market-women, the assistant table director of the Nancy B. Doe market, Mrs. Famatta R. Davies, on behalf of the president of the market Ma Mary Flomo, acknowledged OFCET-Liberia for their kindness in educating market-women and their kids on the prevention method of TB and the encouragement to go to medical facilities for checkup and medication.

“We are excited to receive you people today. We never ever thought that people could be saved from this virus very easily as you have informed us today,” said Mrs. Flomo. 

“Most times we see people with the disease excluded from … society by friends and family. With this education, we will do our best to go for treatment every time to save ourselves, children, family and community,” they noted.https://thenewdawnliberia.com/stigma-and-discrimination-are-among-leading-barriers-to-accessing-tb-services/

NewDawn

The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by the Searchlight Communications Inc. Office is located on The UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is a bilingual (both English & French).
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