General News of Friday, 17 March 2017
Ghana’s Tuberculosis (TB) burden is on the upsurge as 14,632 cases were reported in 2016 as against 9,714 in 2015.
This means 2016 has seen record jump of 4,918 cases.
Out of the 14,632 cases recorded in 2016, 699 were children as Ghana records new TB cases every day.
The Programmes Coordinator for the National TB Control Programme, (NTCP), Dr. Frank Bonsu, who disclosed this to The Finder, added that 5,011 of the reported cases were women.
He explained that 29 out of every 100 people are infected with TB in Ghana and there was an urgent need to get to the root causes.
"TB ranks alongside HIV/AIDS as the leading cause of death worldwide, an estimated number of 1.5 million people died from TB globally last year," he said.
The Programmes Coordinator said a research report had indicated that TB was prevalent in the rural areas as compared to urban centres, due to the delay of diagnosis and treatment at the rural areas.
Dr. Bonsu appealed to government to prioritise TB treatment in the country.
He stated that the NTCP would revise its treatment strategy and intensify its case finding intervention by engaging communities more throughout this year.
"The NTCP will also identify priority groups for routine TB screening thus the elderly, farmers, miners and pregnant women as part of efforts to reduce TB infection rate," he said.
According to Dr. Bonsu government has purchased 90 gene X pert and 49 digital (CXR)-chest X Ray machines to be distributed to all public health facilities to enhance early detection of TB across the country although not every hospital has received it.
He urged the public to go for regular checks for TB at the health facilities adding "TB is curable its screening and treatment is free hence the need for all to prevent TB deaths"
He was speaking on the sidelines of a briefing session for this year's TB Day celebration slated for March 24, on the theme "Unite to End TB".
This year's World TB Day celebration calls on all partners and stakeholders to unite towards achieving the goal of eliminating TB by 2035.
Dr. Bonsu said 29 out 100 people are infected with TB and there was an urgent need to get to the root cause of it by 2035
The National TB Ambassador, Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensam VI, who doubles as the Paramount Chief of Assin Owirenkyi Traditional Area, expressed shock at the way individuals still maintain very strange names and huge levels of stigma for TB that is easily treatable.
He announced the planning of a lot of innovative activities to diagnose TB early, simpler and treat the patients better.
The ambassador urged corporate Ghana to come on board to support the efforts of the National Programmes so that together the country's drive towards ending TB before the target year 2035 as set in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Global end TB Strategic Plan.