Cotton Tree, Margibi County – A health care service provider at the Cotton Tree Clinic in Margibi County is worried about the drop in the number of HIV/AIDs and Tuberculosis patients who supposed to be on regular treatment at the facility.
Report By: Kosain Bolo | LVL Health Reporter in Margibi County
Madam Esther Lackay says this is mostly due to the coronavirus pandemic that has triggered the spread of misinformation in the county.
“We had 12 clients on treatment before the coronavirus pandemic outbreak and right after the announcement of the third wave, we got one new client making the number 13 clients, but we have had just one client coming for regular treatment which is against the rules of treatment,” she said.
“It’s possible that the virus or disease intensifies in clients who are shying away from treatment, and it may lead to their death and even cause more death during this coronavirus pandemic”.
Madam Lackey is worried that the health condition of most of her current clients might worsen if interventions are not made to encourage them return to the health facility for regular care.
“Tuberculosis has stages, and there are three months and six months treatment, so if you stop, we call it treatment failure, it causes relapse, due to the lack of treatment,” she explains, adding that such situation may cause families taking their sick relatives to herbalists, something she describes as “very dangerous”.
Speaking about the signs and symptoms of HIV and how it creates panic and misinformation especially during health emergency like Covid-19, Madam Lackey added: “The HIV Virus can come with all kinds of things, and you might take (considered) it to be African sign (a curse or bewitched), but please do not conclude – come to do your test, free of charge, even the treatment is also free. We have more medications and supplies for treatment free of charge come to the health facility for regular service delivery.”
Meanwhile, rumors have also been spreading in the Cotton Tree community that TB and HIV patients will be isolated or quarantined like people who have tested positive for Covid-19 once they go to the clinic.
Madam Lackey has struggled to dispel this misinformation.
“I want to encourage all our clients and sick people to come to the health facility for us to screen you, do your test, and come up with your results,” she explains to a visiting reporter. “So, I don’t want them to sit home and conclude that when they come to the health facility, they will be considered coronavirus patients.”
And to intensify awareness amid the growing misinformation, the health worker suggests that enhanced community engagement will help people understand that there are other diseases that might threaten their lives amid the looming threat from COVID-19.
“We do health talk every morning during devotion to inform people that all their focus should not be only on coronavirus, there were existing viruses and diseases that are infecting us in the country so providing more awareness and health talk will help our people to come to the hospital for treatment,” she said.