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29.04.2008 Health

Region records 1,761 new cases of TB in 2007…resulting in 93 deaths

By Zam R. Samin, Takoradi - Ghanaian Chronicle

THOUGH treatment of
Tuberculosis (TB), at the
various health centers in the country is free, and almost all TB deaths, according to experts, are preventable, the Western Region, last year, recorded a total of 93 deaths, as a result of the spread of the communicable disease.

The region recorded a total of 1,761 new cases, of all forms of TB reported. Out of which 93 people, were said to have died.

This was disclosed by the Deputy Western Regional Director of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr. Linda Vanotoo, at the commemoration of this year's World TB Day, held in Takoradi. It was under the theme 'I am Stopping TB', a message Dr. Otoo believed underlined the collective responsibility that touches everyone, everywhere, to join hands in combating the curable disease.

In Ghana, a total of 697 deaths were recorded, according to the Health Director, a slight improvement on 702, in the year 2005.

The alarming statistics, she noted, called for consensus among Ghanaians, particularly the people of the Western Region, where the 93 deaths were recorded, to kick TB out of the system.

Dr. Vanotoo has, therefore and henceforth, called for effective collaboration, between the media, the public and the health experts, to fight the disease, which accounts for about 40% of AIDS deaths in Africa.

Meanwhile, Dr. Vanotoo, in a press release issued after the commemoration of the TB Day, revealed that within the past three years, the TB incidence for the nation had leveled off, around 57 cases per 100,000 population.

This, she indicated, was due to combined efforts, the expanding economy, as well as poverty reduction.

However, she expressed regret, in absolute terms that TB numbers reported in Ghana were increasing, because of population explosion and increased access to health services.

In order to make treatment at the community level trouble-free, the previous method of treating the disease through injections, she disclosed, had been replaced with tablets for all new cases.

Not only this, while no new drug had been introduced, she said in the release that the combination of drugs had changed them into stronger ones.

This, she noted, had enabled the duration of treatment to be reduced to six months.

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