Declare Tuberculosis an emergency disease in Ghana

health_alert.jpgThe government has been urged to declare Tuberculosis as an emergency
disease to enhance more political commitment and increase influx of
donor funding to make the country achieve the Millennium Development
Goals and World Health Organisation’s targets.

“Member
States of the African Union committed themselves in 2005 to the
achievement of universal access to treatment and care of TB while up
till now the 2001 Abuja pledge by Heads of States to allocate at least
15 per cent of their countries annual budget to the improvement of the
health sector has not been met”.

Mr. Imoro Abudu, Programme
Manager of Afro Global Alliance said this at a TB Voice Network
Advocacy and Sensitization workshop for Assembly Members and community
leaders in Accra.

He noted that, TB is a major public health
problem in Ghana but unfortunately little attention had been given to
the disease because it is a disease of the poor and generally affected
society’s most vulnerable, who live under abject poverty, the
marginalised or economically and socially isolated.

Mr
Abudu said, in recognition of the gravity of the TB situation in the
country and the sub-region, the workshop had been organized by TB Voice
Network to sensitize the community leaders on the challenges faced in
the implementation of its TB control programmes in the various
communities.

The Programme Manager said the TB Voice Network
was a composite of cured TB patients and public spirited volunteers in
various communities to offer living testimonies on TB, improve case
detection and also act as treatment supporters for persons diagnosed of
the disease.

The agenda of the workshop was to tackle the
high level of defaulters’ cases even after counselling, standardization
in architectural plans to include better ventilation, a supranational
laboratory for Ghana or the sub continent.

Mr Abudu said
the health sector, realising that it cannot solely undertake all the
numerous activities had over the years involved the private sector and
civil society, among others, to fill the gaps to achieve both national,
regional and global targets for TB control.

The La Mantse,
Nii Tetteh Tsuru, who chaired the programme said that issues concerning
the TB disease should be the concern of all so that a concerted effort
and programmes are developed to eradicate it in the country.

He
said all were at risk of contracting the disease stressing the need for
victims to be supported in their treatment and not shunned.

Mr
Samuel Kudzuwo, a laboratory technician at the Korle Bu Teaching
Hospital who explained the duties of the TB Voice Network said TB is a
major cause of death if not treated and that the Afro Global Alliance,
national Tuberculosis Programme and the chest Clinic have teamed up for
a collaborative and initiative to help stem or check the spread of the
disease.

He said there is the need for preventive care and
treatment and for the re-enforcement of community support to implement
sustainable TB control programmes by helping to identify and locating
new cases and to assist to administer treatment.

Mr
Kudzuwo said the Network and their collaborators are enforcing
situational analysis reports, counselling and tracing of TB patients
and undertaking the supply of advocacy materials to spread the message
across the country.

“Help to de-stigmatise TB in the
communities since it is an air-borne disease and all symptoms such as
cough, fever, night sweats, loss of appetite, weight loss, tiredness
and fatigue should be reported to a health personnel for the needed
advice”.

Source: GNA