Health ministry seeking to transform approach to TB treatment – Cummings

The Ministry of Public Health is engaged in a series of measures to transform its approach to Tuberculosis (TB) treatment, according to Junior Minister of Public Health Dr. Karen Cummings, who says emphasis is also being placed on the collection and interpretation of data on the levels of infectious diseases in the Guyanese population.

Cummings made the announcement as she delivered the feature address at yesterday’s observance of World Tuberculosis Day 2017, under the theme ‘Unite to end TB,’ at the Cara Lodge, a Government Information Agency (GINA) report said.

“The battle against TB requires, as the theme implies, a concentrated unified effort by all stakeholders in order to realise the goal of ending TB by the year 2030. Quite appropriately therefore, World TB Day provides an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about the disease, and to advocate for more strategic efforts to eliminate it,” Cummings was quoted as saying.

During the observance, the report said, treatment success rates were highlighted, with Region Ten achieving 95 percent coverage, with other regions achieving higher than 60 percent in 2016.

Meanwhile, Cummings noted that the incidence of TB is gradually decreasing but multi-drug resistance TB cases are increasing.

The solution to this is timely identification followed by the prescribed treatment plan but these remain a constant challenge within the local healthcare system, she added.

According to the report, other issues, such as insufficient awareness about TB among healthcare providers, social service providers and the general population, hamper success in the fight against TB. Additionally, lack of information about the prevalence of TB, target populations, and proper screening methods, together with improper medical management of this disease can also contribute to widespread disease transmission, it added.

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