Tuberculosis (TB) which some refer to as witchcraft or spiritual related disease, is one of the most deadly diseases in the world due to its fast spread through a cough.
A study has revealed that everyone in this world has a trace of Tuberculosis in his or her body system. A survey has also revealed that people living with HIV-AIDS and chronic diseases are highly exposed to Tuberculosis than everyone else. And again, Tuberculosis kills more than Malaria and AIDS combined.
To this end, the National TB Control Programme in collaboration with Stop TB-Partnership Ghana is calling on the government to make funds available as a matter of urgency to undertake TB-related exercises in the country.
According to Dr. Yaw Adusi-Poku, Programmes Manager at the National TB Control Programme, Ghana currently needs 136 Gene Xpert and 50 digital x-ray machines with CAD4 TB to fast track screening and treatment of people living with tuberculosis in the country.
He said the president, H.E Nana Akufo Addo in 2018 was signed onto Implementation Core Group of WHO Global Task Force on latent TB infection and country stakeholders on implementation tools and joint TB and HIV programming to scale up TB preventive treatment, Geneva.
He said this declaration made by the President was to help Ghana in achieving WHO annual target of treating 45,000 TB patients every year.
“The main reason we are here is about the fact the president attended the world United Nations high-level meeting in 2018 and Ghana was signed on to some commitment. So that commitment would have to be presented and where we are now we are far from achieving the target.
During the Covid- 19 mass testing when the Covid case is suspected and tested they also test for tuberculosis because symptoms were similar. Hence data has indicated that the number of persons suspected to be diagnosed of tuberculosis was more than Covid suspected cases in the country”.
He further emphasized that the highest number of patients treated was 14,600 and that was in 2019.
He noted that his outfit will embark on testing of residents in some mining communities come Sunday, November 14th in the Ashanti region.
He made this known at a day media personnel workshop dubbed: “Strengthening The TB Response Through Multi Stakeholders Partnerships” on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, in Accra.
On his part, David Akwesi Afreh, Board Chairman, STOP TB Partnership-Ghana, said the government must put in the needed funds in order to achieve the WHO target of saving lives.
“We have a report from Geneva, a global report dubbed ‘The Deadly Divide,’ this report suggested that there is a huge gap between the target that the presidents of nations signed onto. As a result, the target has not been achieved in their various countries, which Ghana is one of them”.
He, therefore, urged the media to take the advocacy to the next level by educating the populace on the implications of tuberculosis.
He also advised the citizens to avail themselves as and whenever officials are in their communities for screening and testing of tuberculosis.
STOP TB Partnership
The Stop TB Partnership was established in 1998. It aims to realize the goal of eliminating TB as a public health problem and, ultimately, to obtain a world free of TB. Stop TB comprises a network of international organizations, countries, donors from the public and private sectors, governmental and non-governmental organizations and individuals that have expressed an interest in working together to achieve this goal.
About National TB Control Programme
Tuberculosis control in Ghana started in the pre-independence era when the colonial government recognized the need to combat the disease due to the threat to the larger society. In July 1954, the Ghana Society for the Prevention of Tuberculosis was established to support and supplement the government’s efforts.
In the early 1960s, the Government of Ghana sponsored nurses to train in Israel in the area of TB Management who was then known as TB nurses. Mobile X-Ray vans were used to carry out mass screening for TB. However, the post-independence story until the early ’90s was marked by unpredictable funding efforts for tuberculosis control.