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Ghana to source $76m to fight TB

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Mr. Joseph Yieleh-Chireh, Minister of Health, on Thursday said Ghana is on the verge of signing up to a five year grant of $76 million from the Global fund to fight Tuberculosis (TB).

He said the grant would focus on reducing patients and health service delays and help to increase TB case finding, a major challenge facing the national TB programme.

Mr. Yieleh-Chireh disclosed this in a speech read for him at the National launch of the World TB day in Sunyani.

It was on the theme: “on the move against TB: transforming the fight towards elimination”.

Mr. Yieleh-Chireh explained that the programme would also centre on improving the quality of care to TB patients in health facilities to reduce the complications associated with the disease, improve treatment success and community TB care.

He reiterated that TB was a curable disease and advised infected persons to seek early medical attention.

The sector minister said the ministry would continue to raise resources for the national TB control programme to lead the implementation of the health sector strategic plan 2009-2013.

The entire five-year funding need is 524,581,317 dollars, Mr. Yieleh-Chireh added.

He called on Ghanaians to get involved in the fight against the spread of the disease.

Mr. Yieleh-Chireh commended development partners whose contributions had made significant impact on TB control in the country.

Dr. Frank Adae Bonsu, National TB Programme Manager, disclosed that in 2010, 15,129 new cases of tuberculosis were reported nationwide.

He said 5,499 representing 36 per cent of detected cases were women as compared to the 9,680 representing 64 per cent being men.

Dr. Bonsu said 898 cases representing 5.8 percent cases notified were children below 15 years, adding, special drug formulation for treating childhood TB would be delivered to the country very soon.

He explained that the country had an impressive record of treatment adherence, disclosing that the latest TB treatment success rate was 86.4 percent.

“This is the best ever recorded national average in 20 years”, Dr. Bonsu stated and said Central, Volta and Western regions had TB treatment success rate exceeding 90 per cent.

He said death rate was also falling with the lowest rate of 6.7 per cent recorded in 2009.

Dr. Bonsu said presently, 14.6 per cent of TB cases also had HIV indicating that even though the figure appeared relatively low, if not seriously addressed, it could negate the country’s efforts and present achievement.

Mr. Kwadwo Nyamekye-Marfo, Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister said the region had projected to detect about 4,500 cases last year but only 858 cases were recorded.

He said it was about time that the district health directorates improved on their respective diagnostic facilities and also embark on vigorous active case search activities.

Mr. Nyamekye-Marfo noted that there had been improvement in other indicators such as cure and the defaulter rates over the years.

The 2009 analysis gives the region a cure rate of 83.5 percent and a defaulter rate of the 10 per cent target, he stated.

The Regional Minister explained that a total sum of GHC 813,777.39 was spent by Municipal and District Assemblies in the provision of Community Health Planning Services (CHIP) facilities, construction of classrooms for nurses training institutions, construction and rehabilitation of hospital wards as well as provision of ambulance by the Asunafo North Municipal Assembly.

Mr. Nyamekye-Marfo said the region had also chalked remarkable reduction in guinea worm infection, adding, the incidence of the disease reduced from 11 in 2008 to two cases, reported in Kintampo North in 2009.

He said in 2010, the region did not record guinea worm and polio cases.

Mr. Nyamekye-Marfo disclosed that out of the regional population of about 2,434,422, the National Health Insurance Scheme had achieved a total coverage of 2,070,299 representing 85 percent.

He said in the first quarter of 2011, a total of GHC 11,766,251.62 had been received from the government for payment of claims to service providers.

Mr. Nyamekye-Marfo said the Regional Coordinating Council had reached an agreement with MedShare International to ship a 40-seater container of medical supplies and equipment for distribution to some health facilities in the region.

Source: GNA

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