Following recent calls by stakeholders to end stigma and discrimination against tuberculosis survivors in Nigeria, some of the people affected are worried about the trend.
Some of them say that despite completing their medications and being certified TB free, they are still being stigmatised.
Salma Idris, from Kogi state, who is attending the National TB Conference 2021, holding in Abuja, said that tuberculosis robbed her of marriage intimacy.
“I battled TB for years.
First, I didn’t know what the cough was.
I came to visit sister in Abuja who took me to a hospital where I was diagnosed with TB.
They gave me drugs.
I went back home and told my husband, and that was where the problem started.
He sent me out of our room for fear of being infected.
I had different set of cutleries also.
There was no intimacy of any kind,” Mrs Idris said.
She said that she was frustrated and thought about leaving the marriage but she had nowhere to go with her condition.
Taking her medication
According to her, being faithful in taking her medication helped her and as at her last visit to the hospital, nothing was found.
“The last time I went to the hospital, the doctor congratulated me and said I was fine.
I was so happy,” she said excitedly.
On her relationship with her husband, she said it has improved.
“We can do certain things but no kissing.
He said that he needs to be very sure,” Mrs Idris noted.
Coping with stigma
She said that she had to attend the TB conference to meet with other survivors and find out how they have been coping with stigma.
She called for more awareness on tuberculosis especially in the rural areas.
Daniel Amos said that listening to everything that was said at the National TB Conference 2021, showed that efforts were being made to address issues but the efforts are not enough.
He said that there was the need for enforcement of stigmatisation laws in Nigeria.
“The issue of stigma is a big deal I’m this country.
The government needs to be very firm in enforcement.
Let’s use one or two people as example for others and see how things will change,” Mr.
Treat survivors with kindness
He also said that tuberculosis was not a dead sentence but people need to understand that and treat survivors with kindness to avoid depression and death.
He said that looking at survivors that held the fashion show, they don’t look different from everyone else.
“I don’t see why we should be treated differently,” he said.
In her message to the National TB Conference 2021 organised by the StopTB Partnership Nigeria, the wife of the Nigerian President, Mrs.
Aisha Buhari, said that through the anti-stigma programme, more people are coming forward to report TB cases and access treatments, which will boost response.
She noted that she would continue to work with wives of state governors to curb stigma.
The theme for this year conference is “sustaining a resilient TB response in Nigeria: Addressing the impact of COVID19 and other diseases.
TB Survivors Decry Stigma Level In Nigeria