8 People Die Of Tuberculosis Everyday in Sierra Leone
Dr. Lynda Foray (in photo) from the National Control Leprosy Control Program (NCLCP) has informed Mayors, District Council Chairpersons and Journalists that according to the World Health Organization (WHO) 2017 Sierra Leone Tuberculosis burden report stated that, eight (8) people died of Tuberculosis (TB) everyday in Sierra Leone adding that 16142 people were put on treatment.
This was brought to the attention of the public at a one day dialogue forum for Mayors and District Chairpersons from across the country organized by the Civil Society Movement Against Tuberculosis Sierra Leone (CISMAT-SL) at Hill Valley Hotel in Freetown on Thursday, 7th February, 2019.
She described TB which is on the increase as an airborne disease adding the many missing cases are the major problem for TB prevention. She said Kono District has lot of Drug Resistance (DR) TB as a result of mining activities. She expressed disappointment that stigmatization is preventing TB patients to avail themselves in treatment centres.
She pointed out that TB is currently one of the programs that do not have partners except, Global Fund, SOLTHIS NGO which is performing the role of research and encouraged participants to inform their people about TB in their respective districts. She confirmed that MSF is now coming in.
“Kono, Bombali, Western Area Urban and Rural recorded high cases of Tuberculosis and she further maintained that TB/HIV needed aggressive treatment. “It cost over six thousand dollars to treat one person with Drug Resistance TB”, she told audience.
She pointed out that prevent the development of drug resistance through high quality treatment of drug susceptible TB, expand rapid testing and detection of drug resistance TB cases, good governance, partnership and coordination, a well equipped and functional laboratory, skill clinical and laboratory staff, cross cutting partnership and system building, an efficient specimen referral system and community ownership and partnership.
She explained March 24th every year is celebrated as World TB Day because she said, it was the day the bacteria that causes TB was discovered by Dr. Robert Koch in 1882.
According to DR. Lynda Foray, TB is transmitted by droplet, signs and symptoms include cough for more than two weeks, fever, weight loss, night sweat.
She said according to WHO, Sierra Leone is categorized with Cambodia as highest burden countries TB and stressed that globally, Sierra Leone is a high burden country TB. “We need political will and commitment to end TB in Sierra Leone”, he said.
In his statement, the National Executive Director, CISMAT-SL, Mr. Abdulai Abubakarr Sesay informed the gathering that the meeting was graced by the highest political authorities in the country
He said TB is a socio-economic issue which has been neglected for the past decades and mentioned that CISMAT-SL is existing to raise awareness on the danger and prevention of the disease. He encouraged TB patients that it is not the end of life and confirmed that shaking hands is not a medium of TB transfusion.
He described the engagement as very important because according to him it is graced by high political authorities that formed the development pillar of the country. He stressed on the important of local councils to erdicate TB. He frowned that TB is not a poor man disease because he stressed that, it can even affect the rich.
He therefore is calling on His Excellency, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio and First Lady, Fatima Bio to pay attention on the quick eradication of the deadly and curable disease.
“If the health sector to be revamped, TB must not be left out”, he reminded President Bio and advanced that WHO report says 20 thousand people affected with TB annually while he said.
Mr. Sesay explained that they have over 170 DOT Centres that provide TB services with microscope and other vital laboratory equipment Mr. Sesay encouraged people to go for test for TB base on free of cost to know their status. He further entreated Sierra Leoneans and non-citizens in the country to make use of the free X-Ray for TB/HIV that Government has introduced.
He concluded by encouraging TB patients that the disease can be cured within six months with proper and adequate treatment and he finally described the 20 thousand people affected by TB in Sierra Leone annually as alarming.
The Freetown City Council representative who is the host of the meeting, Mr. Osman Tollo Koroma described TB as a serious infectious disease that affect the lungs and other part of the body adding that, in the early years, a person was considered dead after knowing that he or she have TB. He pointed out that the meeting would help increase knowledge of city mayors from across the country to know their mandates towards ending TB prevalence in Sierra Leone. He thanked CISMAT-SL for such initiative and expressed FCC’s determination to kick TB out of SierraLeone.
The MSF Holland representative stressed that there are people in Sierra Leone who are very much passionate about sensitizing people on Tuberculosis and emphasized on MSF unflinching support to end TB in Sierra Leone by 2030. She therefore expressed gratitude to CISMAT-SL for what she described as wonderful initiative. “We hope to actually have a strong team on grounds to assist in the fight to end TB.
She concluded that they would be focus on the Multi-Drug Resistant treatment for Makeni, Bo, Kono and beyond.
The Deputy District Chairman, who spoke on behalf of the Kenema District Council, Yayah Emmanuel Kajue that people who are TB victims in his district are responding to treatment adding that TB is curable and advised we should not isolate but to encouraged them to feel inclusive in society. He sai a TB infected person can play and eat with a TB free infected individual.
“We will work with the District Medical Officer (CMO) to kick TB out of Kenema District”, he said and promised to strengthen sensitization and awareness raising campaign in Kenema District to meet Zero tolerant to TB.
By Alhassan Bangura
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