By Arinola Kolade & Uchechukwu Afamefune
Federal Government has recommended tuberculosis, TB, screening as a pre-medical test for newly employed public servants in federal and state governments as well as newly admitted students into secondary and tertiary institutions.
Disclosing this development during the 61st National Council on Health, NCH, meeting in Kano, Minister of Health, Professor Issac Adewole, said TB screening should be provided to persons seeking health care whether or not they had symptoms and signs compatible with TB infection.
Those affected by the directive include newly employed staff in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, and newly admitted students into secondary and tertiary institutions.
The motive, he noted, was to facilitate prompt detection and treatment of TB infection in the country.
The minister said 2017 and beyond had been declared the years of accelerating TB case finding in Nigeria.
“I wish to advocate that mandatory TB screening be offered to those who seek health care with or without symptoms/signs compatible with TB and those who do not,” he said.
Prof. Adewole further directed that all health care workers should, as a routine, conduct symptomatic TB screening at all Out Patient Departments, OPDs, in all health facilities, especially at secondary and tertiary health facilities, to ensure prompt diagnosis of TB and eventual treatment of the positive TB cases.
He said: “Mandatory TB screening should be part of pre-employment medical tests for the following:Newly employed staff in all Ministries, Departments and Agencies at all levels (federal, state and LGA); and newly admitted students into secondary and all tertiary institutions in the country. This will enable prompt detection and treatment of TB in Nigeria.”
“It is also necessary to inform Council that in order to further ensure that TB cases are detected among children and their care givers; I have approved the inclusion of TB response strategies in activities to be addressed under the saving One Million Lives Programme for Result (SOML PforR).”
He called on all Commissioners of Health to ensure compliance in their respective states.