What is tuberculosis (TB)? How can it be prevented? What do I do if I am infected with TB?
Cameroonians in all the nooks and crannies of the country are receiving answers to these questions and many others as the world commemorates Tuberculosis Day under the theme “Reach, Treat and Cure Everyone”. The Permanent Secretary for the National Programme for the Fight Against Tuberculosis, Dr Jean-Louis Foe Abena says in line with activities to mark the day, which was commemorated on March 24, public talks and free screening on TB have been organised throughout the national territory to sensitise the population on the disease whose treatment is free of charge in the country.
Statistics from the National Programme for the Fight Against Tuberculosis indicate that since, 2014, some 26,000 Cameroonians are diagnosed with the TB virus. Information further indicates that 40 per cent of those suffering from TB are co-infected with the HIV virus. Dr Jean-Louis Abena says although 82 per cent of those infected with TB were successfully treated, because of the presence of HIV, the eradication of TB is taking longer than expected. The Permanent Secretary explains that while some patients suffer from induced resistance to the TB treatment because they do not strictly take their drugs as required, others develop natural resistance making TB treatment complicated.
Although there is a global effort in the country to curb TB, Dr Abena lamented that the prevalence rate of TB in the East Region of the country increased up to 35 per cent because of the presence of refugees. With the persistence of TB in the society, Dr Abena says the Ministry of Public Health is using this week to sensitise people on TB, which is that bacterial infection spread through inhaling tiny droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. Although it is a serious condition, Dr Abena says it can be cured with proper treatment. For one week, Cameroonians will have the opportunity to discuss with health experts on the causes, symptoms, treatment and the importance of a TB vaccine. The week is also an opportunity to raise awareness about the burden of TB and the need to consult a specialist as the best way-out in case of prolonged coughing.
Source : Cameroon Tribune