World TB day is celebrated globally on March 24 each year and is aimed at sensitizing the public about the disease.
This year, the Ministry of Health teamed up with Courts Guyana Limited and the Clerical and Commercial Workers Union (CCWU) and had an information booth at Courts Main Street store.
The booth, which was open from 8.30 am to 12 noon, was aimed at informing the public about the disease, prevention techniques and treatments that are available to persons who are infected. It also included an interactive session for persons to ask questions they might have about the disease.
Dozens of persons took time out from their shopping to stop and be informed about the disease.
Present at the booth were Dr Jeetendra Mohanlall, Manager of the National TB Programme; Dr Phenila Rogers, TB and HIV coordinator; Ronley Kendall from the National TB Programme; Sherwood Clarke, Field Secretary of CCWU and Kester Abrahams, Marketing Officer at Courts Guyana Limited.
Kendall noted that in Guyana, TB is found mostly in the coastland areas and can be prevented and cured; a fact unknown to most persons.
Dr Rogers noted that despite this, most persons who visited the booth were knowledgeable about the basic facts pertaining to TB.
She, however, cautioned that the disease can affect all age groups and sexes but is more dominant among adult males and persons infected with HIV.
Representatives from the National TB Programme noted that there is a Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) that provides at home treatment to persons living with the disease.
The event according to Dr Mohanlall is a continuous initiative that will continue to educate the public about the disease. He also noted that information booths will be set up at the malls located on Regent Street next Saturday to continue the sensitizing programme.
Mohanlall stressed that the involvement of civil society is important and called upon this segment of society to become more involved.
The National TB Programme manager also noted that they are working with schools and business places to ensure that discrimination against persons with the disease does not occur and that everyone needs to be involved in the fight against TB.
Abrahams, the representative from Courts, stated that his company was pleased to support the initiative and will continue to support any future event of this nature.
TB is an infectious airborne disease that is caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Its common symptoms include pain in the chest, weight loss, coughing of blood, fatigue and night sweats.
The disease affects over 12,000,000 persons globally according to the World Health Organization (WHO).