Ghana is today joining the rest of the world to commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day as it continues to remain a major public health threat in Ghana and globally.
This year’s commemoration is on the theme: “Yes! We Can End TB”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), TB it is one of the top 10 causes of death and in Ghana, and it is estimated that about 30 people lose their lives each day from TB and 125 people fall ill daily.
Globally, it is estimated that each day, over 4000 people lose their lives to it globally and close to 30,000 fall ill with TB disease.
Dr Rita Patricia Frimpong Amenyo, Deputy Programme Manager, National TB Programme in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, World TB Day was a significant occasion for all health workers, partners, researchers, the TB community and all governments who contribute their resources to the fight against TB.
March 24 has been set aside by WHO to commemorate the day Dr Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis (TB) in 1882.
The Deputy Programme Manager disclosed that commemoration would hold a webinar for paediatricians by Ghana Paediatric society to increase their suspicion for Childhood TB to enable them to screen more children in all facilities. This is because TB in children is difficult to diagnose. “Research done last year in Komfo Anokye found 50 TB cases among severely ill children on admission from January to June,” she noted.
“There will be a football gala and screening, intensify ongoing TB screening ongoing nationwide in densely populated communities, hold advocacy and sensitization, as well as organize a school nationwide quiz to climax activities later in the year.”
She disclosed that to end TB, “we need to engage all institutions and fight against stigma, discrimination and called for urgent investment of resources in the fight.
“Currently, we have 169 GeneXpert, 79 digital x-rays in 260 districts and there should be deliberate efforts to provide diagnostic tools for TB diagnosis.”
According to the WHO Report, 2022, Ghana recorded 12,000 TB mortality with 45,000 TB incidence with childhood TB recording 6,500 cases. HIV positive incidence recorded 6,500 and HIV negative mortality recorded 12,000, HIV positive also recorded 3,700 mortalities.
The NTP’s achievement for 2022 recorded 16, 632 TB notified cases, both new and relapse, childhood TB recorded 827 notified cases. In all, 15,422 people tested for HIV, whiles 1,820 HIV Positive TB cases were recorded with 87.5 percent treatment success.
“The Programme is currently involved in contact tracing, diagnosing and treating Paediatric TB, intensifying case finding in all facilities, embarking on community outreach programmes, actively involved in TB prevention and treatment, as well as embarking on active screening at mining and prisons to increase detection cases in the country,” Dr Frimpong Amenyo noted.
She explained that the risk of TB in Ghana was high and that everybody was at risk, saying, “the good news is that TB is curable if we seek early treatment.”
TB is transmitted from a sick TB patient as a droplet infection through coughing, singing, and sneezing. Inhalation of these droplets by an uninfected person may cause infection. TB mostly affects the lungs but can also affect other organs in the body such as the pleural cavity, liver, scrotum, kidney, intestine, and womb. This is known as extrapulmonary tuberculosis. In addition, tuberculosis may also occur in animals such as cattle and this is referred to as bovine TB.
Symptoms of TB include Cough weight loss (poor weight gain in children), fever, tiredness, night sweats, chest pain. and cough with blood-stained sputum. However, TB is a preventable and curable disease. Diagnosis and treatment are available free of charge in all public and accredited private health facilities.