A TB patient
Tuberculosis (TB), a chronic disease, caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, is the second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent.
Over 95 percent of TB deaths occur in low and middle income countries and it is among the top three causes of death among women aged 15 to 44.
The disease also affects young adults in their most productive years. However, all age groups are at risk.
Joseph Newton, Western Regional Coordinator of TB, disclosed this during a press briefing as part activities marking this year’s World TB Day.
The day is set aside to create awareness about the disease and to involve stakeholders in prevention and management of TB to improve the disease’s cure rate and reduce multi drug resistance.
He revealed that the estimated number of people falling ill with TB each year was declining, and TB is a leading killer of people living with HIV and causing one quarter of all deaths.
He pointed out that among the objectives of controlling TB were to reduce mortality and morbidity due to TB, reduce the transmission of infection until it no longer posed as a threat to public health and to prevent the development of drug resistance.
Mr Newton mentioned that even though the treatment was curable and the treatment was free, treating multi drug resistant TB, was very expensive.
He explained that a TB patient would reach the multi drug resistant stage when the patient refused to adhere to or comply with the directives for treating the disease.
He stated that tobacco use greatly increased the risk of TB disease and death, adding that more than 20 percent of TB cases worldwide were attributed to smoking.
According to Mr Newton, people who were co-infected with HIV and TB were 12 to 34 times more likely to become sick with TB, adding that risk of active TB was also greater in persons suffering from other conditions that impaired the immune system.
He, therefore, called on the media to help disseminate information on TB to the general public to correct the misconception that TB was a spiritual disease.
The Western Regional Coordinator of TB also appealed to the media to create the awareness that the disease was curable also motivate TB presumptive cases to report to health facilities.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Takoradi
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