A new regimen for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) would be introduced in the country on July, Dr Sylvester Anemana, the Western Regional Director of Health Services, announced on Tuesday.
In an address read for him at a press briefing to commemorate World TB at Sekondi, he said the duration of treatment of the disease would reduce from eight months to six months under the new regimen.
Dr Anemana said presently the first two months of the treatment of the disease includes an injection, which could only be done by a nurse or a health worker at health facilities.
He said to make it possible to treat the disease everywhere, the injection is being replaced by tablet and while no new drug is being introduced, the combination of drugs are being changed into stronger ones.
Dr Anemana said the new treatment regime forms part of the Enablers Package, which has been introduced and designed to ensure improved access to TB services by patients in communities, health facilities and in the private sector.
Dr Anemana said the Package reduces the cost of treatment to patients and facilitates and motivates health providers to work harder to improve treatment successes.
"This Package is to comprehensively describe all the activities involved in the care and support of TB patients and to provide a framework and guidelines for the health care system to quantify the cost of activities involved in treating patients to achieve cure".
Mr. Joseph Newton, Regional Focal Person of the National TB Control Programme, said in Ghana about 52,000 new cases of TB are reported each year.
He said in the Western Region, about 1,716 new cases of TB were reported in 2005 and 1,778 cases in 2006.
About 702 deaths from TB were recorded in 2005 and in the Western Region about 72 deaths were recorded in 2005 and 58 deaths in 2006.
The Wassa West District has the highest TB prevalence rate in the region due to the mining activities there, he said.
Mr. Newton said almost all TB deaths could have been prevented had the patients sought early medical treatment.
He said 90 per cent of people affected with the TB virus do not show any symptoms and only 10 per cent of infected individuals develop active TB.