4,000 TB Cases Undetected

According to him, despite TB being among the top three causes of death of women aged between 15 and 44, a whopping 4,000 cases went undetected in 2013, indicating that ‘this is enough to trigger the alarm bells.’

Speaking at a press briefing to commemorate ‘World Stop TB Day’ in the Ashanti Region, Dr Oduro said each of the 4,000 undetected cases would infect 10 to 15 people each year.

‘We need to examine critically why historically cases are missed leading to unnecessary pain, suffering and death,’ he noted, and asserted that one prime challenge to TB control activities was myth and misconception about the disease.

The Public Health Director observed that the negative dispositions about the disease often resulted in concealment of status, fear and stigmatisation leading to delay in seeking health treatment by patients.

Dr Oduro pointed out that the nation is currently implementing a TB strategy that recognises that individuals and communities infected and affected by TB to be empowered with critical mass of information on the transmission of the disease, availability of cure, status disclosure, and community engagement in TB control.

Ordinarily, TB cases are missed because patients do not seek cure to the disease as they consider it not to be a hospital disease, ‘therefore seek remedy from home and prayer camps,’ the Public Health Director disclosed.

For him, what is more concerned to health managers in the region is that many female patients are missed because the healthcare facilities fail to detect the cases, indicating that the ratio of male to female TB notification is 2:1.

‘The patients therefore suffer silently and painfully for condition which is curable. There is loss of income in the home, orphans are created, marriages breakdown, and social ostracisation will lead to stress and depression,’ he observed.

He called on employers to take pre-employment x-rays seriously and urged physicians who also offer chest x-rays for any reason to have high index of suspicion for potential TB cases and conduct further test for confirmation.

He disclosed that butchers who on daily basis handle cattle at abattoirs were at risk of contracting TB though; they are not systematically screened for TB.

He called for the need to look at institutions with where overcrowding is commonplace for the missed cases of TB, and mentioned the mental health facilities in particular.

Dr Alexis Nang-Beifubah, Ashanti Regional Health Director, warned the public against patronage of game, cautioning, ‘If you see a dead animal it is not a windfall. Don’t even go close to it.’

According to him, the threat of Ebola disease is not yet gone and that people ought to be extra careful by desisting from eating bush meat and bats for their own safety and health.

On cholera, Dr Alexis asked members of the public to keep themselves neat and clean, asserting that it would be disgraceful for the region to record an outbreak of cholera.

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From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi

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