Ghana’s Tuberculosis (TB) burden is getting higher, as it recorded 44,524 new cases with 9,714 deaths in 2015.
The acting Programmes Manager for the National TB Control Programme, (NTCP), Dr. Nii Nortey Hanson-Nortey, who said this, noted that Ghana records 122 new TB cases every day.
He was speaking at a briefing session for this year’s TB Day celebration slated for March 24, on the theme “Unite to End TB”.
This year’s World TB Day celebration calls on all partners and stakeholders to unite towards achieving the goal of eliminating TB by 2035.
Dr. Nortey said nine people die from TB in Ghana everyday at a case detection rate of 33 per cent.
“TB ranks alongside HIV/AIDS as the leading cause of death worldwide, an estimated number of 1.5 million people died from TB globally last year,” he said.
The Programmes Manager said a research report had indicated that TB was prevalent in the rural centres as compared to the urban centres, due to the delay of diagnosis and treatment at the rural areas.
He said although handling TB was a developmental issue, Ghana was able to diagnose and treat 14,999 TB cases representing 85 per cent of successful treatment.
“In 2015, the nation recorded 8,222 cases representing 54.8 per cent of TB confirmed laboratory cases, out of which 730 were children and 5,013 were women”, he said.
Dr. Nortey appealed to government to prioritise TB treatment in the country.
He stated that the NTCP would revise its treatment strategy and intensify its case finding intervention by engaging communities more throughout this year.
“The NTCP will also identify priority groups for routine TB screening thus the elderly, farmers, miners and pregnant women as part of efforts to reduce TB infection rate,”he said.
According to Dr. Nortey government has purchased 90 gene X pert and 49 digital (CXR)-chest X Ray machines to be distributed to all public health facilities to enhance early detection of TB across the country.
He urged the public to go for regular checks for TB at the health facilities adding “TB is curable its screening and treatment is free hence the need for all to prevent TB deaths”.
The Deputy Director -General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Gloria Quansah –Asare called on all to come on board and harmonise recourse and efforts to drive TB away from Ghana.
By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey