Nigerian Govt tasks Youths To Join Fight Against Tuberculosis

Nigerian Govt tasks Youths To Join Fight Against Tuberculosis

The Federal government has asked young people to join it in creating awareness of the dangers of undiagnosed and untreated Tuberculosis using social media platforms and their personal influences.


The government noted that as the most upwardly mobile and productive group in the population, young people reserve a higher capacity to spread correct knowledge of TB amongst their peers and other Nigerians.


The Head of Advocacy and Social Mobilisation at the National TB and Leprosy Control Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Jamila Amin, made the call at a TB advocacy meeting with young volunteers aimed at discussing innovative strategies for awareness creation in local communities.


Dr Amin tasked the young volunteers to lend their voices to the fight to control TB spread, noting that their involvement in advocacy would increase the number of cases detected and treated and break the cycle of new infections.


In her words, ”young people are the most productive age group and they are the most agile and move around more. They also have very low health-seeking behaviours, so we are targeting them because we know that if we get that population, we would have a large chunk of the TB burden controlled.


”We also want them to help us create awareness. We know that they are the ones that are most active in social media and other forms of communication so we want them to use the avenues available to them to help us spread correct knowledge of TB amongst their peers and Nigerians generally so that we can reach more people, get more people into care and hopefully control the spread of the disease”.


Meanwhile, the Executive Director, Debriche Health Development Centre in Nigeria, Debrah Ike said her advocacy group aims to use the efforts of young and mobile people to overcome all barriers to ending TB in Nigeria.


”We all know that a lot of people do not know that this disease is treatable, curable and preventable. Only 30% of people are aware of TB signs and symptoms. This is a huge challenge. And that is why today mobilising young people and empowering them as champions to be advocates is very important. We want to leverage the platform of the young people, their voices and their movement to speak on these issues.


However, raising concerns over the challenge of stigma, Dr Bertrand Odume of KNCV Nigeria, warned that stigmatisation remains a key barrier to accessing TB care.


He expressed regrets that in 2024, many Nigerians still believe that TB is not curable and is related to witchcraft activities.


He said this assumption has led to a lot of stigmatisation, rejection and shaming of TB patients, who now hide and refuse to disclose their condition or seek help


He said, ”We know TB is preventable, a lot of the youth now are on social media, which is why getting social media influencers can help address some of the barriers stopping people from seeking care”.

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