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General News
Ghana marks World TB Day 3/25/2007
Accra, Mar 23, GNA - Dr. Frank Adae Bonsu, Programme Manager, National TB Control on Friday said TB incidence rate has levelled off at 57 per 100,000 over the last three years.

This he attributed to the combined effort made at combating it and expressed his gratitude to partners in the fight for assisting in the effective treatment of 123,000 patients since 1996, which had averted 26,000 deaths.

Speaking at this year''s world TB Day in Accra on the theme: "TB anywhere is TB everywhere", he said 702 deaths were recorded in 2005 averaging two deaths per day while nearly 250,000 people had been protected from acquiring new TB infections in the country at the cost of over 10 billion cedis.

Dr. Bonsu said 70 percent of patients were in the economic productive age bracket of between 15 and 45 years, adding that the age group was sexually active and risk contracting HIV.

Despite the 73 percent success rate compared to 15 percent in 1996, TB still remained a public health problem in Ghana.

The theme, he said, was a wake up call for all not to be complacent, especially with new deadlier forms of TB being reported elsewhere in the world.

"With this emerging trend, we face a challenge as we work towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for TB, reducing by half, prevalence and death rates by 2015, he said.

"We use this occasion to also remember all those who have succumbed to TB, a preventable and curable condition", he said.

In a speech read on behalf of Regional Director of World Health Organization, (WHO) Dr Luis Sambo, Dr Joachim Saweke WHO Representative in Ghana said despite good progress with implementing the Direct Observation Therapy Strategy (DOTS) TB cases had continued to rise in many countries in the sub-region of Africa.

He said access to diagnostic and treatment services was not yet universal and the quality of available services remains low with only half of the existing TB cases being identified and put on treatment. He noted that where HIV prevalence was high, TB incidence had increased making TB and HIV co-infection with the main epidemiological factor driving the TB epidemic in the region, adding that in some areas in southern and east Africa, over 50 percent of TB patients had HIV with 40 percent AIDS deaths due to TB.

He said the gravity of the situation had enabled Ministers f Health of the African Region to declare TB a public health emergency and to accelerate the fight against the epidemic. He called on Political leadership in all member states to dedicate adequate resource to fight against TB and to champion the call to attain universal access to high quality TB services. The Regional Director pledged the commitment of the regional office to provide technical support for countries to promote implementation of effective TB control programmes capable of reducing suffering and death towards the MDGs'' targets.

Source:
GNA

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