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Health News of Saturday, 4 May 2013

Source: GNA

Provide food supplements to TB patients in time

Stakeholders at a Tuberculosis (TB) forum on Thursday appealed to the National Control Programme to ensure that food supplements are released in time to TB patients.

The forum was organized by the Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment-Ghana (RISE), a Non-Governmental Organization.

The stakeholders, which included Civil Society Organizations, Health Practitioners, the House of Chiefs, TB Patients, the Media among others, were of the view that the late arrival of the food supplement to TB patients in the Region affects them, particularly when they are to take their drugs with it.

“Taking the medicine demands that patients get enough food supplement, but most at times the food supplements arrive in the Upper East Region very late, affecting effective health delivery to the TB patients” they indicated.

The stakeholders also entreated the traditional authorities to organize durbars to demystify the stigma associated with the disease and to encourage people who are victims of TB to go for treatment since it was free and takes only six months to be treated fully and to be cured of the disease.

The media were equally tasked to devote a lot of airtime and space to issues relating to the TB disease, particularly education on its treatment as well as breaking the stigma attached to it.

“There is also the limited participation of Civil Society Organizations in the fight against the disease, particularly on the aspect of stigma’, the stakeholders intimated, stressing that, there is the urgent need for all to get actively involved in the fight against the disease. “It is only through this that we can deal with the problem effectively.”

Mr Samuel Angyogdem, the Regional TB Coordinator, said unlike before, the TB menace had reduced drastically in the Region but said more needs to be done since majority of the people affected by the disease do not want to avail themselves for treatment because of the stigma attached to it.

He assured TB patients that the National TB Control Programme will soon dispatch consignment of food supplements to the Region to enable them to take their drugs and stressed the need for patients to administer their drugs properly as prescribed to them.

Mr Patrick Asakidongo, a TB patient, intimated that one of the major problems confronting them was stigma and impressed upon health professionals to educate families with TB patients not to discriminate against them.

He mentioned the lack of information and ignorance about the treatment of the disease and indicated that many people were not aware that its treatment was free of charge, stressing that, more education on its treatment needs to be done.

The Project Manager of RISE-Ghana, Awal Ahmeed said the project, which is funded by Stop TB Partnership/Challenge Facility for Civil Society, had so far mobilized and strengthened Civil Society and Organizations of TB affected people to demand accountability from the authorities to stop TB in the Region.

The project, he noted, had also organised advocacy and lobbying skills training for health advocates and TB Affected people, support CSOs to develop, implement and review advocacy agenda and had also organised capacity building workshop on new tools and knowledge in TB and TB innovation radio talk show among others.

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