IOM launches mobile initiative to curb TB among refugees, miners in western Ghana

Housing_PopulationThe International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched what it calls a TB REACH project which will help detect tuberculosis among individuals in Western Ghana.

According to WHO data, TB incidence and prevalence rates in Ghana in 2011 stood at 79 and 92 per 100,000 persons respectively, with a 78% national detection rate of all forms of TB.

The UN agency on May 31, 2013 said the project which is in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) targets refugees and host communities, miners and mining communities, border communities and vulnerable urban communities in the western part of the country.

The project will be implemented for the next 15 months and the IOM indicates that it will partner with the country’s national, regional and district TB control programmes in five locations – Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan, Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality, Prestea-Huni Valley Municipality, Ellembelle District and Jomoro District, all in the Western Region.

In a statement, the IOM said its team will “use a mobile TB diagnostic van equipped with a GeneXpert MTB/RIF machine to reach at least 317,000 individuals in the Western Region of Ghana.”

Dyane Epstein, IOM Chief of Mission in Ghana explains the region’s selection and said it “hosts two refugee camps, shares a border with Cote d’Ivoire and has an inflow of migrants from within Ghana and the region for employment in the mining and petroleum sectors.”

The TB REACH, according to the statement, is a global programme spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO) and funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

By Ekow Quandzie

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