The National Professional Officer of World Health Organisation (WHO) in Nigeria, Dr Michael Jose has decried the alleged sale of free Tuberculosis (TB) drugs to patients in Rivers state.
He raised the concern in an interview in Port Harcourt on Thursday observing that it was an inhuman act for free drugs to be sold to the same patients that needed it.
Jose stressed that TB drugs were donated by WHO meant to be given free to the patients, adding that it was wicked and callous for anybody charged with the responsibility of dispensing the drugs to sell them for his selfish gain.
“There were about 13, 000 missing TB patients in Rivers in 2017 alone. In the face of the sale of the drugs, those that could not afford the payment simply went home and may not have come back to the healthcare centres.
“With such patients not treated, the air borne disease will continue to spread in their communities. I want to appeal to the culprits to stop the practice. Does it mean that we are no longer our brothers’ keepers?” he said.
Jose said that TB was not an economic and financial setback to only the families of infected persons, but to the entire nation.
“Health is wealth and those infected cannot be productive. Since their productivity is zero, they cannot contribute to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),’’ he explained.
He advised citizens to always go for TB test when they experienced continuous coughing for two weeks, night sweating and body weakness, among other signs.
Jose advised individuals and communities in the state to report infected persons to the healthcare centres or relevant authorities to curtail the spread of the disease.
The alleged sale of the free drugs was reported during the last quarter of the 2017 stakeholders meeting on TB, organised by Rivers Ministry of Health.
The ministry had promised to investigate the allegation and sanction the culprits.