Dr. Dafae reiterated that the orientation was held to orientate TB Clinicians about the GeneXpert machine by increasing knowledge and skills on the role of the Xpert machine, eligibility criteria for Xpert TB screening and increasing case finding and how and where to request for Xpert, and referrals to receive and interpret results.
He expressed the Ministry of Health and Sanitation commitment to transforming the fight against TB as a public health security and emergency problem, noting that TB is a disease of the poor.
Giving the objectives and review of the TB Diagnosis and treatment, the Manager, National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control Programme, Dr. Lynda Foray described TB as infectious disease mainly affecting the lungs but also every parts of the body. The disease she said is air borne and transmission is person by person.
Commenting on the signs and symptoms of the disease in adults and children, Dr. Foray outlined fever, pains, cough among others, adding that the disease is preventable and called on the Sierra Leone population to make use of the health facilities in their communities with a view to averting unnecessary deaths.
Dr. Foray explained that 12,103 patients were notified and tested in 2015 and 6,891 notified and treated from January to June in 2016, adding that there are in total 170 Direct Observe Treatment Service (DOTS) centres countrywide with 20 in the Western Urban and 10 in the Western Rural area.
She highlighted challenges already addressed which includes provision of new motor bikes for supervisors, for 2017, resumption of training of Community Health Workers, community engagement, procurement of machines for drug resistance and the dispatched of samples to Germany among other achievements.
Consultant, Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), Mathabo Labina emphasized the need for team work towards quality service delivery.
Project Director, German Leprosy/TB Relief Association (GLRA), Cyril Johnson said it has been the dream of GLRA to see that Sierra Leone has a GeneXpert machine, adding that since that dream has been actualized, they are happy and very appreciative.
The Manager, Association of Public Health Laboratories Programme (APHL), Dr. Esther Vitto commended the programme and assured the National Leprosy Tuberculosis Programme of their continued support.