By Confidente Reporter
NAMIBIA will join the rest of the world in commemorating World TB Day whose theme this year is ‘Unite to end TB’.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the event will be commemorated in Opuwo in the Kunene region on March 24.
“Every March 24th of each year the world marks the discovery of the organism that causes tuberculosis. The Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) will join the world in commemorating the world TB day on the 24th of March 2017”.
According to the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme (NTLP) under the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the commemoration will be part of a wider effort aimed at achieving goals and objectives set by the programme to mobilise communities and encourage them to adopt practices that minimise the risk of TB infection.
Of the estimated 10.4 million TB cases reported globally in 2015, only 6.1 million were reported to various national TB programmes.
There were an estimated 1.4 million TB deaths in 2015, and an additional 400 000 deaths resulting from TB disease among people living with HIV. Although the number of TB deaths fell by 22 percent between 2000 and 2015, TB remained one of the top 10 causes of deaths worldwide in 2015.
The HIV epidemic makes people more susceptible to TB. In 2014 an estimated 44 percent of TB patients are also living with HIV in Namibia. Namibia is also experiencing a growing problem of drug-resistant TB. This type of TB does not respond to treatment with the usual drugs. The National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme (NTLP) estimates Namibia had 137 patients with multi-drug resistant TB in 2014.
Over the years the NTLP had been providing education, awareness and dispelling myths and rumours about the disease through schools visits, radio programmes and capacity building for health workers managing the disease.
The NTLP has made some significant strides towards TB control, but MoHSS says more still needs to be done to achieve total TB elimination. Since the disease is equally a social malady, improvement in living conditions of the people will also assist in effective control. The Directorate of Special Programmes commends the activities of other bodies and agencies involved in TB control in Namibia like USAID, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme and CDC.
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