Government secures $21m financing to control Tuberculosis

Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Friday said Government is committed to support efforts of the National Tuberculosis (TB) Control Programme to establish and understand the burden of the disease.

This he said would provide further information on better ways to accelerate progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for TB.

He called on Ghanaians to support the national efforts by cooperating with the team of investigators who might be calling on them from December 2012-December 2013 to establish data of the disease.

In a speech on his behalf on World TB Day, he said despite the efforts being made, there is an emerging threat of Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) also known as the silent killer that threatened to negate all efforts achieved so far.

TB is a disease which is contracted through breathing. The World TB day is marked to climax TB public educational and awareness campaigns all over the world.

This year’s campaign slogan is “Stop TB in my Lifetime”.

It was for this reason government a couple of weeks ago secured a financing arrangement of $21 million with The Netherlands Government through the ORIO project to improve diagnostics capacities for TB in particular and other conditions of health institutions throughout the country.

The ORIO project aims at reinforcing the national health care system.

Vice President Mahama said the country urgently needs a specialised facility that would admit and treat patients suffering from MDR-TB and the use of emerging infectious diseases.

“Our fight against TB will be incomplete without such facility. This is a heavy price to pay if we don’t stop TB in our lifetime. Children will bear the blunt.”

Deputy Minister of Health, Rojo Mettle Nunoo said TB is a poverty related disease and that in an election year where there would be large gatherings of people at political rallies, there is the need to adopt health etiquette such as coughing with mouth covered with handkerchiefs.

This, he said called for public education and awareness creation and reaching out to the poorest in the society to help hedge the disease as well as improve laboratories, diagnosis and the supply of quality drugs.

Dr Frank Bonsu, Programme Manager for the NTP said the country had progressed in TB control and now on track to eliminate TB in Ghana in the next decade.

“The next decade is definitely within the lifetime of most people assembled here. We would say we have reached TB elimination target when for every one million Ghanaians we at most can identify only one case of TB.”

The recent WHO Global TB report released in 2011 was quite revealing he said, and added that Ghana was among few African countries that had met the World Health Assembly target of 70 per cent TB case detection and 85 per cent treatment success target while TB incidence and prevalence had reduced almost by 50 per cent, a clear indication that Ghana is likely to achieve the MDG target for TB control.

In 2011, Ghana recorded 15,842 TB cases which is 4.6 percentage increase over the previous year, 36 per cent (5,778) of notified TB cases were women as compared to 64 per cent who were men. (10,064).

Source: GNA

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