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Health News of Thursday, 25 March 2010

Source: GNA

Ghana to collaborate with WHO to know burden of TB in the country

Tamale, March 25, GNA - The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that out of every 100,000 people in Ghana, it is expected to find 353 cases of all forms of tuberculosis (TB) among them.

Ghana is therefore in agreement with the WHO to establish the true burden of the TB disease in the country since the last time the Ministry of Health (MOH) in collaboration with the WHO conducted a study on the disease was in 1957.

Dr. Frank A. Bonsu, Programme Manager, National TB Control Programme made this known at the National launch of world TB day in Tamale on Wednesday.

The ceremony also coincided with the launch of the International year of the lung and the launch of the National Charter for TB patients by Vice President John Dramani Mahama on the theme: " On the move against tuberculosis", with the slogan: " Innovation to accelerate action". Dr. Bonsu said another study to know the true burden of TB was long overdue, since this would enable the country to know how much progress it was making in the fight against TB.

"This is very urgent and indeed good for our image as a country if it is confirmed that we are on course on achieving the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) target for TB control", he said. Dr. Bonsu said the Ghana Health Service (GHS), through the National TB Control Programme, had raised 700,000 dollars for another study to be conducted on TB status in the country.

He said there was a funding gap of 1.5 million dollars that the Ministry of Health (MOH) should provide, adding that the WHO had already spent over 100,000 dollars in technical assistance to get the study off the ground.

"Ghana must not fail to raise this amount in the interest of the poor TB patients and the larger society".

He said at the national level, treatment outcome analysis showed that on the average 85.1 percent of all patients were successfully treated, adding that this was slightly above the global target. Dr Bonsu said 15,301 cases of confirmed cases of TB were recorded last year, made up of 9,839 men and 5,462 women, representing a five percent increase over 2008.

He said the number of children reported to have contracted the disease over the same period was 642 of which 285 were females, representing a 45 percent increase over the previous year.

Dr Bonsu said this was a cause for concern because with more children contracting TB it meant that transmission was actively going on in the communities from adults to children. Dr. Benjamin Kumbour, the Minister of Health in a speech read for him, said over 2 million cases of TB were reported worldwide annually and accounted for over 30 percent of all avoidable deaths in third world countries, with the worst affected being adults between the ages of 15 to 59.

He said TB and HIV/AIDS were both enhance by poor nutrition, over crowding in rooms and poverty.

He said about 1,059 TB centres had been established in the country, while 274 diagnostic centres had been opened to offer services to TB patients Vice-President John Mahama said in an address read for him that it importance to provide relevant information on TB to the general public to enable them take preventive measures against contracting the disease. He said it was lack of awareness and knowledge about the risk factors that had contributed to the poor state of health of many Ghanaians. 25 March