Traditional rulers, the media and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in the Upper East Region have pledged to help the Ghana Health Service to combat the spread of tuberculosis (TB) in the area.
The stakeholders made the pledge in Bolgatanga on Thursday during a forum organised by Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment-Ghana (RISE), a Non-Governmental Organization to launch a TB project.
The project is to mobilize and strengthen CSOs supporting TB affected people and help stop TB in the Upper East Region.
Naba Baba Salifu Aleeyarum, Paramount Chief of Bongo Traditional Area, said the Ghana Health Service alone could not fight the TB menace.
He called for a multi-sectoral approach to stop the spread of the disease and urged chiefs to ensure that all community members infected sought early treatment.
RISE-Ghana is one of the major advocacy groups in the region working towards the reduction of TB and funded by “Stop the TB Partnership Challenge Facility for Civil Society (CFSC).
Mr Awal Ahmed, Project Manager of RISE-Ghana, said as part of the programme his outfit would mobilize and strengthen CSOs and TB affected persons to increase response by government and other service providers towards TB and HIV-TB among others.
“Thus an enabling environment will be created for various actors such health advocates, TB-affected people, CSOs and media engaged in advocacy and accountability dialogues towards stopping TB in the region.
“The project will also increase awareness on TB and reduce stigma through the monthly TB Innovation Radio Talk show”, he said.
He said despite its potential of derailing all the country’s efforts towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the TB disease had been neglected and reiterated the need for chiefs, health professional, the media, policy makers and NGOs to join the noble cause of stopping TB.
Mr Samuel Angyogdem, Regional TB and HIV Control Programme Coordinator, said one infected person could transfer the disease to about 10 to 15 persons and appealed to stakeholders, particularly traditional leaders and assembly members, to ensure that anybody found to have symptoms of the disease in their respective communities reported to a health facility for early treatment.
He said apart from the treatment being free, patients were given enablers as a way of motivating them to visit the health facility adding that TB was curable when patients were supervised and encouraged to take the full treatment.