Addressing newsmen at the Ministry of Health and Sanitation conference room, the Program Manager of the National Tuberculosis Control Program Dr. Lynda Foray noted that the theme for this year’s commemoration is “Wanted: Leaders for a TB- Free World. You can make history. End TB”. Dr. Foray called on stakeholders, communities, the media and all those affected by TB to speak up and take actions to end TB in the country. She added that Sierra Leone is among the thirty countries with a high burden of the disease globally.
She mentioned that everyone can be leader in the effort to end TB through our different work and area of specialization. Dr. Foray said that TB is the world leading cause of death from a single infectious agent, adding nearly 1.7 million people die every year. She furthered that the estimated number of Sierra Leoneans that fall sick of TB yearly is over 22,000 including about 2,600 children and eight TB deaths each day. According Dr. Foray, there are still many TB patient that have not be diagnosed which contributes to continued transmission of the disease and also increase the risk of complications of those affected. She commended the strive and progress made so far in the country’s capacity to mange TB cases noting that there are treatment and testing facilities at a free cost at hundreds of health facilities across the country.
Dr. Massa Haiku TB Medical Officer World Health Organization WHO explained that TB is caused by bacteria that most often affect the lung. Some of the symptoms of the disease he said include a caught that may last for more than two weeks with or without blood or mucus, pain in the chest, fatigue, weight loss, fever and night sweats.
He mentioned that TB can be spread from person to person through the air, and therefore cautioned that early treatment is crucial to reducing risks of complications and prevents transmission of the bacteria to others. Dr. Haiku therefore appealed to people to seek advice from health workers if they experience a caught that last for two weeks. He maintained that TB disease is deadly but also curable and preventable.