What you need to know:
- Firstly, early diagnosis and treatment of people with any form of drug-resistant TB is very crucial towards this fight.
- Resources should also be directed towards advocacy and awareness to tackle stigma associated with TB in the country.
Last week, the world celebrated the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24.
According to the World Health Organization, TB continues to be one of the deadliest infectious diseases, claiming the lives of nearly 4,000 people and infecting 28,000 daily. It is also the number one cause of death for people with HIV.
In order to play a critical role towards ending TB, effective strategies and measures need to be put in place to ensure we achieve this ambitious target. This is especially crucial as a lot of focus remains on tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.
Firstly, early diagnosis and treatment of people with any form of drug-resistant TB is very crucial towards this fight.
The WHO endorsed rapid TB diagnostics and drug susceptibility testing (DST) which should be available to all who need it and prioritised for those at risk of drug-resistant and HIV-associated TB.
Secondly, the government, together with key stakeholders in the private sector, should actively enhance the training of health professionals on the use of various diagnostic tools to further minimise missed TB cases.
Counselling and psychological support
Resources should also be directed towards advocacy and awareness to tackle stigma associated with TB in the country. The stigma usually discourages people exhibiting TB symptoms from seeking proper medical advice.
In addition, there is need to incorporate counselling and psychological support services for those suffering from TB.
Thirdly, practical steps by both the national and county governments and stakeholders are required to ensure that TB is addressed as a social protection programme, , especially in those living in slums.
Lastly, to ensure that we manage this disease, effective implementation of the “End TB Strategy” should be a combined effort .