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01.05.2007 Health

TB suffers major blow in Wa


The lack of functional laboratory to support the diagnosis of Tuberculosis was a hindrance to detecting people with the disease in the Wa East District.

The Wa East Director of Health Services, Mr. Joseph Bolibie, said the district has no hospital facility where patients would be diagnosed for TB and other communicable diseases.

“This makes the district silent on TB detection but we assumed that there are people living with the disease undetected”, he remarked.

He added: “People have to travel long distances on bad roads to the nearest health facilities for care as there is no hospital in the district.”

Mr. Bolibie was speaking at the Upper West Regional launch of this year's Tuberculosis Week celebration at Kundungu on Sunday, which was on the theme: "TB here; TB everywhere".

He said the district was faced with the challenges of access to health services, as there were no ambulance services to transport critically ill patients and emergencies to Wa and other referral hospitals.

The District Director said TB is an airborne infection, which could affect any person but said it could be cured when detected early with appropriate treatment and management.

He advised people with prolonged cough to report to health facilities for appropriate check up and treatment. He said treatment for the disease is free and people should not cite poverty to discourage them from accessing treatment.

Mr. Bolibie said over the years, the Ghana Health Service and the Ministry of Health have sought to improve health care delivery through the introduction of disease specific programmes, such as National TB Control and HIV/AIDS Control Programmes aimed to reduce the incidence of these diseases in the country.

He said the objective of the National TB Control Programme (NTCP) was to decrease morbidity and mortality due to tuberculosis, by detecting 70 per cent of existing cases at any time and to cure 85 per cent with less than 10 per
cent defaulter rate.

Mr Bolibie however, expressed worry that the programme had not achieved its objective of reducing morbidity and mortality, especially in the rural and deprived communities due to the lack of functional laboratories.