As the world recognizes World Tuberculosis Day today, the Deputy Programme Manager Leprosy and Tuberculosis control, in Sierra Leone, Dr Foday Dafae has disclosed that according to medical projection 23,550 people are infected with the disease as of last year.
He disclosed to medical practitioners at the Sierra Leone News Agency yesterday that “only 11,021 of the projected number have registered for the treatment,” which he said is free of cost.
Notwithstanding this huge number of cases he explained that the health ministry has made 89% success rate which exceed that of the World Health Organization (WHO) target percentage which is 85%.
Giving a statistical presentation, he explained that as of last year 4,771 were successfully treated, adding that 198 died while on treatment and some of the death he said was not TB related.
Dr Dafae also revealed that they have 256 defaulters i.e. those who failed to complete their treatment, noting that 45 were not responding to treatment.
The reason why some patients do not respond to treatment he explained that a patient who fails to complete his medication the air borne disease will develop to multi drugs resistance TB which the present medication cannot contain.
He explained that this year’s theme, “We Simply Must Stop TB!” calls on all – those affected as well as those who can provide help, whether as health professionals, members of civil society, journalists etc to make their own contribution in stopping TB.
He called on all those infected to come for treatment “TB is curable and the drugs for its treatment are available and free of cost,” he said. We as a control program in the MoHS, he assured, “will do our best to see that this scourge is eliminated from our society. We will ensure quality of implementation of services whether in the private or public sector,” he said. The deputy program manager also disclosed that there are 99 diagnostic centers nationwide, “this is in line with the ministry’s vision of bringing health services as close to the people as possible. The increase in diagnostic centers is bearing fruits as more people complete treatment and are cured,” he said.
Highlighting their constraints at the TB control centre Dr Dafae said, “We are however still having problems with getting people to use the services. We simply must stop TB!,” he stressed.