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CISMAT-SL says 40% of TB cases missing

March 27, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Sierra Leone on Friday (March 24) joined other countries around the world to observe the year’s World Tuberculosis Day on the theme: “Unite to End TB, Leave no one Behind”.

The day is being observed every year to help in building public awareness against tuberculosis, a disease despite being tackled, still remain a public health and global security concern.

National Executive Director of the Civil Society Movement Against Tuberculosis in Sierra Leone (CISMAT-SL), Abdulai Abubakarr Sesay disclosed to pressmen that 40% of TB cases were missing with little knowledge from government and stakeholders of where to find them.

He said the gains made over the years in the fight against the disease were at risk if efforts were not intensified in finding the missing TB cases, adding that there were still treatment centres far away from patients, a situation which according to him, forced patients to pay huge cost to access treatment.

“The transmission of the disease is increasing in communities. Failing to address catastrophic cost will reverse the efforts to fight against Tuberculosis. There is need to invest more in TB response. Involving communities who are affected with TB, including CSOs should be at the centre of our interventions,” he said.

He noted that affected communities were the backbone to end the disease therefore, should not be left behind in the planning and implementation of the national response.

Amidst the huge challenges in the fight against Tuberculosis, Mr. Sesay, a former TB patient, said there was progress in the fight, citing the training of community TB Animators, establishment of five TB Support groups and placing of suggestion boxes where patients can make complaints in each of the 14 districts.

“TB can affect everyone and so it is everybody’s business. Therefore, we all must think TB and unite to end the disease in this country,” he noted and encouraged those with the disease to come out and speak.

Program Manager of the National Leprosy and Tuberculosis Control Programme, Dr. Linda Foray, called for togetherness so as to ensure that the country not continue to suffer from the spread of the disease.

She stated that despite challenges, a total of 14, 114 cases of tuberculosis were notified and put on treatment in 2016, with a treatment success rate of 86.7%.

“Loss of follow-up has improved from 5.9% in 2015 to 4.6% in 2016. 97% of TB cases were tested for HIV,” she said and added that there were currently 170 treatment points that promote free TB services with 10 more to be added during the course of this year.

World Health organization’s Technical Advisor for Tuberculosis in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, Dr. Cornelia Henning, maintained that TB was among the top ten causes of deaths in 2015, responsible for more deaths than HIV and malaria.

She revealed that more than 10million of TB cases occurred every year in the world with 1.8million TB related deaths, adding that Sierra Leone and Liberia were among 30 high burden countries.

 

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