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Guyana’s TB incidence declining

A TB-infected lung

Guyana hopes to continue further reducing the overall incidence of Tuberculosis (TB) including among those suffering from diabetes and are HIV positive, a senior official said.

The announcement comes as the country prepares to join other countries around the globe in observing World TB Day on March 24 under the theme “Reach the three million, find treat and cure TB.”

Programme Manager of the National Tuberculosis Programme, Dr. Jeetendra Mohanlall said there was a reduction in the number of cases from 92 per a 100,00 persons, in 2012 to 78 per 100,000 population in 2013.

Attributing the success to the ongoing implementation of the DOTS treatment programme- Direct Observation Treatment Short Course- Mohanlall hoped that with the help of other stakeholders, the incidence would decline to about 60 per 100,000 by next year.     

Dr. Mohanlall noted that HIV/AIDS has been one of the major factors fuelling TB in Guyana but figures show that there has  been a slight decrease in the co-infection rate within the last two years from 29 percent to 25 percent.

 “We are hoping to scale up a lot of effort inTB, HIV/AIDS activities and we are working with the National AIDS Programme Secretariat (NAPS) to scale up activities to preventTB in persons living with HIV.,” he was quoted as saying by the Government Information Agency (GINA).

Guyana will celebrate with a week of awareness activities, because whilst theTB programme in Guyana has been achieving its targets, critical is strategic health communication and partnership in combating challenges of HIV andTB Co-Infection and HIV and Diabetes co-infection.

In addition, Dr. Mohanlall said other initiatives would be launched to build capacity in both the public and private sector with the aim of screening diabetic patients forTB.  Over recent times seven percent ofTB cases were found among diabetic patients.

Meanwhile the week of activities to observe WorldTB day will commence on Sunday, March 23 with a fitness walk, which will take off from the Ministry of Health Office, Brickdam to Base Camp Ayanganna. At that, location there were be two football matches.

On Monday the National Tuberculosis Programme along with NAPS will be hosting a seminar where the Global AIDS report will be discussed with various stakeholders. 

The week will conclude with an appreciation ceremony, which will highlight the contributions of staff and partners of the National Tuberculosis Programme.

TB is generally classified as being either latent or active. LatentTB is where the bacteria are inactive but present in the body and the patient has no symptoms and is not contagious. ActiveTB is where the bacteria are active and make the patient ill. ActiveTB is contagious. When an activeTB infected person coughs, sneezes, shouts, or spits, bacteria can enter the air and come into contact with uninfected people who breathe the bacteria into their lungs thus becoming infected.

When a person becomes infected, the bacteria in the lungs multiply causing pneumonia; the patient experiences chest pain and has a persistent cough which often brings up blood.

According to Dr. Jeetendra Mohanlall, Programme Manager of the National Tuberculosis Programme, this year’s theme is in keeping with the global effort to combat the disease.