“NLTCP should be supported for TB Services amidst COVID 19”
Says CISMAT SL Acting Executive Director
The Acting Executive Director of Civil Society Movement Against Tuberculosis (CISMAT SL), Sierra Leone, Pastor Paul Brima Bangura, has stated in a press release that the National Leprosy and Tuberculosis Control Programme (NLTCP) should be supported for continuation of TB services amidst COVID 19 Pandemic fight. (Photo: CISMAT SL, Acting Executive Director, Paul Brima Bangura)
According to the Programme Manager, Mohamed Samura, the release was to call on the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) to increase support for NLTCP on the continuation of TB services across the country amidst COVID 19.
He said CISMAT SL has observed a lot of issues during the 3 Days Lockdown especially with regards to drugs accessibility, affordability and availability for TB patients across the country.
Reading the Press Release ,the Acting Executive Director ,Pastor Paul Brima Bangura states that ,Now more than ever :The National Leprosy and Tuberculosis Control Programme should be supported on continuation of TB services amidst COVID 19 Pandemic ,noting that TB and COVID 19 have similar symptoms which are critical to be identified.
The release states that, TB signs and Symptoms and that of COVID 19 are similar and therefore, there is need to maintain unwavering support to TB Patients during COVID 19 fight so as to avoid disruption of TB services.
“WHO Global TB Programme ,along with Regional and country offices ,has developed an information desk note ,in collaboration with relevant stakeholders .This note is intended to assist national TB Programmes and health personnel to urgently maintain continuity of essential services for people affected with TB during COVID 19 Pandemic ,driven by innovative people centered approaches ,as well as maximizing joint support to tackle both diseases”, the release noted.
The Press Release also notes that all measures should be implemented to prevent any stigmatization or discrimination of people affected by either of these conditions, through respect for their confidentiality and protection of their human rights.
The Release furthered stated that it is evidence that people ill with COVID 19 show similar symptoms such as cough, fever, and difficulty in breathing. Both diseases attack primarily the lungs. TB/HIV patients have underline health circumstances that have proved to be vulnerable to COVID 19.
The press statement also highlighted few issues during the three days lockdown ,that most of the healthcare workers providing TB services were not given government passes thus ,posed challenges for them to be present at the TB facilities though ,the National TB Programme staff gave TB medication to patients for the three days lockdown however ,we think this could posed barriers in terms of access to TB services during three days lockdown.
To this end, the release, stated, CISMAT SL therefore urge WHO and the National TB Programme to act fast in order to adopt and strengthen TB service provision to maximize the health and safety of vulnerable TB patients and TB healthcare workers during this unprecedented period or era.
In conclusion, CISMAT SL want to appreciate the government of Sierra Leone for the prompt action they have taken in the fight against covid 19 and thanked its partners including donors that already involve in response.
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