Ghana to undertake survey on TB prevalence rate

Ms Sherry Ayittey - Health Minister
Ms Sherry Ayittey – Health Minister

Ms Hanny Sherry Ayitey, Ghana’s Minister of Health, has called for accurate estimates of Tuberculosis (TB) prevalence and information for better understanding of the disease.

She said this would help the country especially policy makers to re-think and re-strategize towards the elimination of the disease adding that the last time the nation conducted Tuberculosis prevalence survey to know the disease burden amongst the populace was in 1956.

Ms Sherry Ayitey was speaking at the national launching of this year’s World TB Day and national TB prevalence survey at the Golden Jubilee Park in Kumasi.

The theme for the celebration was, “A call for a World free of TB” with a slogan “Stop TB in my lifetime”.

She appealed to all health development partners to cooperate with the Ministry and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) for the survey to be carried out successfully.

The Health Minister said her Ministry was prepared to provide resources for the national TB control programme to lead the implementation of the health sector strategic plan and post 2015 strategies, since this year marks the last year of the current five-year TB strategic plan.

Ms Sherry Ayitey said the disease is curable and the medicines are free adding that the disease is not spread through spiritual means, though several people believe in spiritual causes of it.

“Let us try our best to encourage people who have been coughing for more than two weeks to seek medical attention for diagnosis and free treatment for the entire period.

We must all show concern about this disease and join the fight and together let us transform the fight towards elimination” the Minister added.

Dr Ebenezer Appiah-Denkyira, the Director General of GHS, pledged to work with all development partners to their commitment to the fight against the disease.

Dr Frank Adae Bonsu, Programme Manager of the National TB Control Programme, said following the activities of the TB control programme, over 1.4 million people have been protected from acquiring new TB infections.

He said adherence to treatment by TB patients has tremendously improved in all the 10 regions with the best performance coming from Komfo Anokye and Korle-Bu Teaching hospitals.

Dr Adae Bonsu said TB and HIV fuel each other saying in 2012, out of 11,825 TB cases that were tested for HIV, 21.6 per cent had dual infection.

Nana Kwaku Amankwaa Sarkodie, Chief of Sawua who represented the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, called for personal hygiene and environmental cleanliness in the communities to ensure a healthy population.

Source: GNA

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