This year's World Tuberculosis Day has been marked with a call on all to visit the nearest health facility and seek treatment for tuberculosis (TB) as the disease was not a death sentence as many perceived it.
A Senior Research Fellow at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), Dr Adwoa Asante-Poku, who was speaking at a health screening organised by the institute to mark the day, said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's effort towards ending TB dwindled which led the country recording over 14,000 cases as of 2022.
The figure, she said, was even an underestimation as there were many more cases out there which had not been reported.
Dr. Asante-Poku therefore urged all to visit health facilities to access free treatment of the disease.
"TB is curable. It's not a death warrant as it was perceived in the olden days.
Now there are drugs for treatment and once you take the drugs for the six months duration you will be fine," she added.
World TB Day is celebrated each year on March 24 to recognise the importance of diagnosis and the need for correct treatment of the disease.
The date also marks the day Dr Robert Koch discovered the bacterium that causes TB in 1882.
This year’s celebration is on the theme: “Yes we can #ENDTB in Ghana” and it was commemorated by the NMIMR with a health screening exercise at the Chorkor Tea Gardens in Accra.
Residents of Chorkor and Mamprobi communities were screened for TB, diabetes and other immune compromised diseases.
The screening was done in partnership with the Department of Chest Diseases and Diabetes Clinic at the Korle-bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) and the National Tuberculosis Control Programme.
The Deputy Head of the KBTH Chest Clinic, Dr Nii Adjei Abraham Adjei said, it was important to bring the screening to the communities to educate them on the disease and stop its spread.
“Most people do not see the need to come to the hospitals and test for the disease and TB is airborne and when you treat a single person you can save a lot of people and the disease is such that when you cough, sneeze, talk or even laugh you can infect people,” he said.
He further urged people to quickly report to the hospitals when they notice any TB-like symptoms especially if it is a cough that has lasted for more than two weeks.