Ghana, on Friday, observed the celebration of this year’s World Tuberculosis (TB) Day with a call on the public to help find persons living with TB but not yet diagnosed.
Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, the Minister for Health, who made the call in Accra in a speech read on his behalf, stated that TB was easy to cure but fatal to ignore.
The need to find people living with the disease, he said, was very crucial as the nation was presently detecting about 15,000 TB cases out of the estimated number of 44,000 TB cases expected to be detected annually, an indication at 29,000 TB cases were undiagnosed.
“TB is such a formidable enemy that we should be armed with the necessary information, knowledge and skill to combat it anywhere,” he said.
This year’s celebration was on the theme “It’s time…Find the people living with TB”.
Mr Manu stressed the need for Ghana to put in more efforts in ending TB if it wanted to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).
“Our long-term struggle in ensuring the national development of human resources to drive the economy can be seriously affected if that is not done,” he said.
He said the government had created an enabling environment by procuring sophisticated laboratory equipment that included 48 digital X-ray and 128 GeneXpert machines in a bid to detect early and treat all unidentified TB cases and ensure that no one died of TB.
According to him, the latest report of the Lancet Commission on TB recognised that Ghana’s failure to implement adequate TB prevention strategies was one of the key reasons the nation had not made enough progress against the disease.
The Minister said the government was enrolling all TB patients on treatment for free on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to ensure that all patients got comprehensive care and treated for other morbidities to reduce deaths.
Mr Manu mentioned that the health ministry and its partners were poised to implement a TB preventive treatment for vulnerable people starting from persons at high risk like Person Living with HIV and AIDS.
He lauded development partners, health workers, TB volunteers, the Stop TB partnerships Ghana, the private sector and the media for their commitment and tireless effort to end TB in Ghana.
Dr Badu Sarkodie, Director of Public Health at the Ghana Health Service, (GHS) commended the National TB Control Programme for developing the TB Prevention Therapy (TPT) to specifically address the TB epidemic.
He said the nation was preparing to roll out the therapy across the country and would need about $13 million to fund it.
Dr Sarkodie stated that indoor and outdoor pollution, asthma, smoking, pneumonia among others affects lung health and breathing and urged the public to voluntarily walk into health facilities to test for TB.
Tuberculosis (also known as “TB”) is a disease caused by a type of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis, it the world’s top infectious disease killer claiming 4,500 lives each day.
The world TB day is celebrated each year across the globe on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB and encourage all nations to step up efforts in ending the disease.