Public Health Ministry to transform TB treatment method
GINA, GUYANA, Friday, March 24, 2017
The Ministry of Public Health is engaged in a series of measures to transform its approach to Tuberculosis (TB) treatment, even as it places emphasis on the collection and interpretation of data on the levels of infectious diseases in the Guyanese population.
Minister of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings made this statement as she delivered the feature address at today’s observance of World
Tuberculosis Day 2017 under the theme ‘Unite to end TB’.
During the observance, treatment success rates were highlighted with Region Ten achieving 95 per cent coverage with other regions following with numbers more than 60 percent in 2016. Meanwhile there continues to be full coverage and treatment services available in all six correctional facilities in Guyana.
Also, it has been identified that the majority of the working population between the ages of 25 to 54 is likely to be diagnosed with TB. Countrywide default rate, in 2016 is recorded at 20 per cent while the death rate is six percent.
At today’s observance at the Cara Lodge, staff of the National Tuberculosis Programme were awarded for exceptional service.
Minister Cummings said TB has now become the world’s leading infectious disease killer with more than 50,000 people in Guyana being infected.
“The battle against TB requires, as the theme implies, a concentrated unified effort by all stakeholders in order to realise the goal of ending TB by the year 2030. Quite appropriately therefore, World TB Day provides an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the disease, and to advocate for more strategic efforts to eliminate it,” the minister explained.
Meanwhile it had been noted by the minister that the incidence of TB is gradually decreasing but multi-drug resistance TB cases are increasing. The solution to this is timely identification followed by the prescribed treatment plan but these remain a constant challenge within the local healthcare system.
Other issues such as insufficient awareness about TB among healthcare providers, social service providers and the general population hamper success in the fight against TB. Additionally, lack of information about the prevalence of TB, target populations, and proper screening methods, together with improper medical management of this disease can also contribute to widespread disease transmission.
Country representative of the Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO), Dr. William Adu-Krow outlined three pillars of the End TB strategy as presented by PAHO/WHO. The strategy is promoted as an integrated part of the Sustainable Development Goal number three which focuses on global health; Dr. Adu-Krow said.
“The Government of Guyana, Ministry of Public Health, has included this in the National Strategic Plan 2015 to 2020. This action is a priority. The End TB strategy was approved by the World Health Assembly in May 2014 after an indepth evaluation of the trends in morbidity and mortality achieved from the MDGs (Millenium Development Goals) from 2000 to 2015.”
The three pillars on which the End TB strategy is based are generally aimed at achieving integrated patient-centered care, bold policies and support systems and intensified research and innovation.
By: Delicia Haynes