Lack of adequate information and awareness are among major factors fueling discrimination against persons affected by Tuberculosis and worsening their situation.
This was disclosed at a 2-day Lagos workshop, where non-governmental organisations called on media to sensitise the public on the need to end discrimination against the affected persons and support them to overcome the challenge.
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The Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria, Hon Justice John Terhemba Tsoho who was represented on the occasion by the Adminsrative Judge of Federal High Court Lagos Division, Justice A. O Faji lauded Lawyers Alert and other partners for their commitment towards ensuring wellbeing of Nigerian.
Barrister Rommy Mom, President, Lawyers Alert, urged the media to educate persons affected by TB on their rights.
He urged lawyers to provide free legal services to person affected by TB when they want to enforce their rights.
Rommy said, “We are talking about the rights of persons affected by TB, those who have been infected in the past, the survivors of TB and their family members. In Nigeria today, TB is the biggest communicable disease interns of persons who have lost their lives.”
“What makes their problems worse are two issues which are stigma and discrimination. These are human rights issues. The gender based approach to TB exacerbate the situation. We are here to talk to persons affected by TB to know their rights and how to enforce theses rights.”
American Human Rights Lawyer and Research, Professor Brian Citro, said the more people understand, the less discrimination and stigma.
He said “TB is curable and it’s not a death sentence. When people take TB treatment very quickly, the are no longer contagious. If people know this, it will reduce the fear and the stigma.”
“Also, we need to use the law. So, we have to have a law that protects the persons affected by TB. A law that expressly and explicitly prohibits discrimination against persons affected by TB.”
Similarly, the Executive Director, Debriche Health Development Center, Mrs Deborah Ogwuche-Ikeh, said close collaboration among all relevant stakeholders is key to end TB in Nigeria and provide support for the survivors.”