The Upper West Regional Directorate of Health Services has intensified its screening efforts at identifying persons with Tuberculosis, taking on-board screening of miners in Nadowli District and at Out-Patient Departments of health facilities.
Gene Xpert and Digital X-ray equipment have also been installed at the Regional Hospital in Wa to help facilitate screening for the disease faster while training laboratory staff at health facilities.
The measures are to encourage people to patronise health facilities to be diagnosed for the disease, which for the past five years recorded increasing cases in the region.
Dr Winfred Ofosu, Upper West Regional Director of Health Services, made this known when he gave an overview of Tuberculosis situation in the region during a media briefing in Wa to mark this year’s World Tuberculosis Day.
The Day was on the theme: “Unite to end Tuberculosis”, which calls on all partners and stakeholders to unite towards achieving the goal of Tuberculosis elimination by 2035.
Dr Ofosu said the region’s, Tuberculosis case notification stood at 316 cases in 2012, which increased to 328 cases in 2013 and decreased in 2014 to 307 but shot up to 356 cases in 2015.
Within the period, the region recorded 169 positive cases in 2012, but the figure decreased to 156 and 164, cases in 2013 and 2014, but increased to 239 cases in 2015.
Cure rate stood at 68 per cent in 2012, 71 percent in 2013, 72 per cent in 2014 and 60 per cent in 2015.
Treatment success were 83 per cent 2012, and the figure increased to 88 per cent 2013 but fell short to 87 percent and 81 per cent in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
The death rate during the period was 12 per cent in 2012 and in 2013 but recorded a decrease in 2014 by 11.1 per cent and in 2015 it registered an increase of 13.2 percent.
Dr Ofosu said the regional health directorate was working harder to reduce the incidents of Tuberculosis among the people.
He admitted that the disease had remained a major public health concern globally as current efforts to reach, treat and cure everyone who got ill with the disease had not been sufficient though it was curable.
The Regional Health Director said drugs for Tuberculosis treatment were available in all government hospitals and some Mission Hospitals as well as accredited private hospitals and were absolutely free.
“It is not a curse nor a hereditary condition and traditional medicine has not proven to cure Tuberculosis”, he explained and urged people to seek medical treatment when they were diagnosed with the disease.
Dr Ofosu said in 2014, 9.6 million people fell ill with Tuberculosis and of this figure, 1.2 million of them also had HIV, ranking Tuberculosis alongside HIV and AIDS as the leading cause of death worldwide.
He appealed to the media to raise awareness of the disease, informing the public that there is a cure for the disease and treatment is also free, saying: “Tuberculosis anywhere, is Tuberculosis everywhere”.