Time to eradicate TB from Ghana

The Head of Chest Unit at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Dr Jane Afriyie-Mensah, on Tuesday painted a frightening picture of tuberculosis (TB) infections in Ghana.

According to her, the disease is becoming a serious health hazard in the country.

The World Health Organisations’ (WHO) global statistics characterises Ghana as a TB endemic country. This is frightening.

Dr Afriyie-Mensah indicated that the hospital in recent times had been recording 30 to 40 tuberculosis cases daily which is an increase in the number recorded in the past.

The TB disease is classified by the WHO as one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.

It said in 2017, 10 million people fell ill with TB and 1.6 million died from the disease.

In Ghana, the estimated national TB prevalence of 290 per 100,000 population shows that the disease burden is four times higher than WHO estimates for 71 per 100,000 population.

The TB prevalence statistics and the grim picture painted by Dr Afriyie-Mensah must be of concern to all especially when we have targeted to end TB by 2030.

To achieve the goal, Ghana has adopted a strategy to reduce TB death rate by 80 per cent and incident by 90 per cent.

The revelation by Dr Afriyie-Mensah that TB is becoming a serious health hazard means that it is not likely that the target set would be met.

The Ghanaian Times is worried that with barely few years to 2030, the country is still struggling to eradicate the disease.

We urge the Ministry of Health and all the stakeholders to double their efforts in combating the disease.

Additionally, we call on the government to, as a matter of urgency, engage the WHO to help the country to fight the disease.

We are aware of the conditions under which TB is spread and since it is preventable and curable, public education should be intensified to get those infected to treatment centres for cure.

It is our hope that the country would take up this matter seriously so that we can end TB by 2030 in line with the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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