Health and Safety

Tuberculosis and HIV co-infection on the increase in Nigeria – NGO

Tuberculosis and HIV co-infection on the increase in Nigeria – NGO
Written by Maritime First

…As Expert harps on dangers of cleaning human ear, says diabetics more at risk***

An NGO, Heartland Alliance International (HAI), says  the Federal Government should be aware that Tuberculosis and HIV co-infection is on the increase in the country.

Mr Batholomew Ochonye, the Country Director of HAI, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday that government should give attention to these co-infections as only 19.7 per cent of those living with both diseases are under treatment.

Co-infection is when a person has two or more infections at the same time.

Ochonye said that co-infected people are at higher risk of new HIV infection because of the lack of meaningful support from government.

“These co-infected persons include sex workers, men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs and incarcerated persons in prisons and other confinement in Nigeria,’’ Ochonye said.

The country director said that these people lacked adequate healthcare and were unable to access equitable treatment which made the gains of the national response ineffective.

Also read: Stop consuming non-iodised salt, NAFDAC advises Nigerians

According to him, “we need to create enabling environment for the people at higher risk to access stigma-free healthcare and related services.”

Ochonye also called for availability of youth-friendly services in all local government areas and appropriate sexual and reproductive health interventions in safer spaces across the country.

He suggested increased partnership with development organisations and the international community to facilitate the  deployment of global best practice to achieve epidemic control.

The expert advised that recent drugs that helped to bring the viral load down in a short time should be used in the country’s hospitals for treatment.

In the meantime, an Otolaryngologist at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Dr Eustace Oseghale, on Wednesday cautioned against regular cleaning of the ear as it  could lead to wax impaction.

Oseghale, who gave the word of caution in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), urged people to avoid cleaning their ears regularly to avoid infections.

He said earwax, also known as Cerumen, was being emitted to lubricate and protect the ears.

“People do not usually need to clean their ears, but sometimes earwax and other debris can build up.

“Using different objects to clean the ear can damage some cells.

“Cleaning the ear regularly damages built-up wax; the wax could roll out on its own,’’ he said.

Oseghale said infection of the external ear referred to as `otitis externa’ usually causes ear pain, ear discharge, reduces hearing and sometimes induced  fever, while infection in the inner ear damages hearing.

The expert said wax impaction would also present the same symptoms as infection of the ear due to regular cleaning of the ear.

According to him, patients who are diabetic are more vulnerable to infection due to their reduced immunity,leading to destruction of bones at the back of the ear.

He advised people with wax impaction to visit the hospital for checkups and desist from self-medications.



About the author

Maritime First