FOR the past ten years, there has been a gradual decrease in tuberculosis (TB) cases in TT. However in 2016 alone, 238 new cases were identified, Steve De Las, chairman of the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) has revealed. De Las said more needs to be done to raise awareness of thedisease in order to address many of the myths and false beliefs about TB.
“People need to be aware that TB is 100 per cent curable.
“I am pleased that our staff at the NCRHA, together with the ministry, have taken the initiative to move forward with this project as we are realising much of the misinformation surrounding this disease can be clarified by our medical practitioners.
“You have an important role to play in making our patients feel comfortable by clarifying how the disease is spread, what kinds of activities will put you at risk, what can be done to address patient concerns and what can be done by persons at high risk to protect themselves and reduce exposure,” De Las said yesterday at a sensitisation workshop on TB at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope.
In commemoration of World TB Day, De Las said the Thoracic Society (TSOTT), the NCRHA and the Thoracic Division of the ministry of health will embark on nationwide activities, engaging internal stakeholders to increase awareness of the disease both for medical personnel, people who are most at risk of interacting with people suffering from TB, as well as the general public.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram told clinical stakeholders it is their duty to ensure all citizens, especially the “poor and disenfranchised,” access health care services to avoid the onset of this preventable disease.
Parasram said TB generally affects adults in their most productive years, though all age groups are at risk.
More than 95 per cent of cases and deaths are found in developing countries.
He said despite significant progress over the last decades, TB continues to be the top infectious killer worldwide, claiming over 4,500 lives a day.
Parasram said despite the figures, strides have been made globally to combat the spread of the disease, as it was estimated that 53 million lives were saved through TB diagnosis and treatment between 2000 and 2016.
He also said the WHO had warned that multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) remains a public health crisis and a health security threat.