Health News of Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Source: GNA

Suspicion for TB cases still low-Dr Bonsu

Dr. Frank Bonsu, National Programme Manager in charge of Tuberculosis on Wednesday said the indices for suspicion of TB cases were still low across the country.

He noted that very few health service providers considered coughing as a case test for TB diagnosis, which had over the years compounded the treatment of the disease.

Dr. Bonsu said case detection which was a key tool in controlling disease, is often delayed, adding, “In Ghana, it takes about nine weeks to detect one TB case”.

Dr. Bonsu said this at a workshop organized for private health facility owners, chemical sellers among other health professionals, on how to effectively engage the private sector in controlling the TB disease at Takoradi in the Western Region.

He noted that though about 50 per cent of TB cases pass through private health facilities, they were not detected earlier.

He said the National Office together with a WHO Consultant, had developed a framework on Private and Public Partnership, which sought to bring all health providers on board in managing the TB disease.

He added that the risk of infecting people before diagnosis was high.

The aim of the partnership was to promote a pluralistic health sector to ensure access and quality care for all people in the country.

He noted that government alone could not take the burden of TB control and management and that the private sector was crucial as they were the first place of call for many victims at the initial coughing stage.

“The state is bent on providing the enabling environment for the private sector to deliver to achieve the MDG target”.

Dr. Bonsu noted that the plan for partnership would ensure that TB/HIV collaborative activities were down at all levels and that the partnership would ensure that TB drugs were made available to all private facilities that have undergone training and were willing to abide by the TB guidelines.

The Workshop was used to formalize working relationship with the private sector to achieve efficiency.

Dr. Daniel Kibuga, a WHO Consultant said Ghana should not be complacent with the relative gains made in controlling the disease but rather work hard to stem it completely.

He noted that many African countries still were highly burdened in terms of TB control.

Dr. Kwaku Karikari, Deputy Director of Public Health in the Western Region, advocated the need to reduce the disease in a way that it would no more be a public health menace.**