Anna Monnar once said ‘All human beings are my neighbor, We share the same planet’. This saying is very apt in describing our relationships with respect to stopping TB. Because we share the same planet, we are all at risk as long as ‘a neighbour’ is still infected or at risk of TB infection. Many decades ago, tuberculosis diagnosis was a death sentence, but with advancement in medical care, it is now curable.
This year, everyone is being called to make history by leading for a TB-Free world. This call is for everyone; Literate and illiterate, doctor or dancer, laboratory scientist or lawmaker…all of us.
- What can you do where you are to be a Leader for a TB-Free world?
Don’t stigmatize against those with TB or TB symptoms: It is bad enough to be coughing or to be very ill. It is worse when you are treated like an outcast. When we stigmatize, we discourage people from coming out with their medical condition; thus prevent them from seeking medical help and from taking measures that will limit spread.
- Practice and educate on Cough Etiquette. Not only persons infected with tuberculosis need to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing; this is a habit everyone should follow, because some people have the tuberculosis bacterium but are not sick.
- Encourage TB treatment completion: The good news is-TB is curable in as quick as 6 months when medications are taken and as prescribed. As an employer, you can facilitate this by allowing your staffs keep their medical appointments.
- Get screened if you think you have been exposed: If you know you have been exposure someone diagnosed with TB; then get yourself screened. As scary as going for the test may be, it is better than late detection. Moreover, you can be given some drugs if you are not infected and have uncontrollable exposure; e.g. a breast feeding infant of a mother with TB.
- Be an advocate of childhood immunization. The BCG immunization is given freely at all government hospitals to children at birth. Encourage your neighbour to get their new born infants immunised.
- Be in charge of your own immunity. The lower your immunity, the more you are likely to be infected with TB when exposed. Eat healthy, sleep adequately and avoid drug/ alcohol abuse & risky behaviours that can lead to diseases that lower immunity.
- Maintain good body hygiene. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after going to public places..
Anyone with TB infection should:
- Curtail the Spread. Persons infected with tuberculosis need to cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing and also maintain good body hygiene
- Start and Complete your TB treatment. With Adequate treatment, someone with TB very quickly becomes unable to spread the infection. These drugs are available for free at TB/DOTs centres in many government hospitals nationwide.
- Spend as much time as possible outdoors;
- Sleep alone in separate, sufficiently ventilated room if possible
- Reduce time spent in public transport to the barest minimum
- Avoid places where large numbers of people gather together.
Whoever you are, where ever you are, whatever you do; You can help create a TB-Free world
Some of the contents of this article are referenced from the links below: