Noguchi Memorial Institute, University of Ghana, has embarked on a medical community outreach programme with a call on Ghanaians to know their TB status for early detection and treatment.
The programme, which formed part of activities to commemorate World Tuberculosis Day saw traders at Agbogbloshie Makola Number 2 medically screened on TB, diabetes, malaria, counseled for HIV, Blood Pressure, among others.
Dr Adwoa Asante Poku, a Senior Research Fellow Noguchi Memorial Institute University of Ghana, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major Public health threat in Ghana and Globally.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, TB is the second leading infectious killer disease Globally after COVID 19. As an airborne disease, TB anywhere is TB everywhere.
World TB Day falls on March 24 annually. This year’s celebration is on the theme “Invest to End TB. Save Lives”.
TB is a disease caused by germs that spread from person to person through the air. It usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine.
It is estimated that each day, about 4,010 people lose their lives to TB across the world and 28,000 get infected as estimated by WHO.
In 2021, Ghana recorded an estimated 44,000 new cases, out of this ,13,332 were the actual cases on treatment, 30,668 cases were missing. An estimated 4,400 children got infected with 645 on treatment and about 12,000 people died undiagnosed.
Dr Poku said it was in view of the above that the Noguchi embarked on screening and public education activities to sensitize the people on the disease to commemorate the Day.
She mentioned that the Institute over the period had embarked on activities to raise public awareness about the need to Invest in TB diagnostic tools (Genexpert, Xrays), TB research, TB Preventive Therapy, TB Advocacy against Stigma.
Dr Poku indicated that the theme for this year’s celebration conveyed the need for governments to understand that without adequate financial resources, the fight against TB could be lost and reverse the gains made so far.
She said the disruptions caused by the pandemic had led to the decreased number of people diagnosed and treated for TB, and dangerously affected the rights of people with TB.
The Researcher explained that evidence from observational studies indicated that the Global increase in type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) was a recognized re-emerging risk and challenge to TB control.
This is so because individuals with DM have three times the risk of developing TB and there were now more individuals with TB-DM co-morbidity than TB-HIV co – infection, she said.
Dr Poku urged diabetes patients to also screen for TB to know their status for early detection and treatment.
“The risk of TB in Ghana is high. TB anywhere is TB everywhere. We are all at risk. The good news is that TB is curable if we seek prompt treatment.
Any person coughing for any duration with one or more TB symptoms should report to the nearest health facility. We should try to avoid overcrowded rooms and ensure proper ventilation. TB patients should be encouraged to complete treatment rather than being ostracized,” she stated.
World TB Day is a significant occasion for all health workers, partners, researchers, the TB community and all governments who contribute their resources to the fight against TB.
This date was set aside in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis (TB).
Since then, humanity has been celebrating World TB Day annually to create the needed awareness’s in solidarity of persons who have been affected, survived, and even lost their lives to the disease.