World TB Day is March 24, 2017.
Dominica joins the rest of the world in the observance of World TB Day. The Theme for this year is “Unite to End Tuberculosis: Leave No One Behind.
World TB Day is a global event that aims to raise public awareness of tuberculosis and the efforts made to prevent and treat this disease. The World commemorates the day when Dr Robert Koch in 1882, identified the Germ that causes TB.
Tuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs.
Although TB is preventable and curable, many people in the World still suffer from this disease. According to the World Health Organization WHO “In 2015 there was an estimated 10.4 million new cases (incidence) of Tuberculosis worldwide, of which 1.2 million (11%) were people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). “
Additionally, “In 2015 there was also 480000 new Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases, meaning, cases which are resistant to drugs used to treat TB. The estimated death by TB in 2015 was 1.4 million, with 0.4 million being co-infected with HIV. Although figures are dropping, TB continues to fall in the top 10 causes of death worldwide, presently ranking above HIV/AIDS for deaths, secondary to infectious disease.”
In 2015, the Ministry of Health recorded five ( 5) cases of TB in Dominica.
According to WHO 2016 World Tuberculosis Report , in 2015 the estimated incidence rate of TB in Dominica is 11 per 100000 persons. Dominica continues to fall into a low TB Incidence category. However migration from countries with high TB incidence increases the possibility for increase in the incidence of TB and multidrug resistance (MDR-TB) in Dominica.
TB is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the disease.
Symptoms of Tuberculosis (TB) of the lungs include, a cough that lasts for more than 2-3 weeks, weight loss, fever, night sweats, loss of appetite and coughing up blood.. An infected person can spread the infection to others, when they cough, sneeze, talk, sing or spit.
TB is diagnosed by direct sputum microscopy, molecular test and culture. Presently direct sputum microscopy is done in Dominica. Tuberculosis can be cured and in Dominica drugs are made available to clients free of charge.
The End TB Strategy aims at global elimination of 90 % cases of TB by 2035.
Dr Cleona Peters, District Medical Officer states that patients infected with TB should not be discriminated nor stigmatized. Anyone can get TB. Our current efforts to end TB are insufficient. Echoing the words of WHO “We can end TB with greater collaboration within and across governments, with partners from civil society, communities and researchers” .
This year the Ministry will commemorate the day with a media campaign strategy for the prevention and control of Tuberculosis.