March 24 every year is set aside globally to commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB and step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.
The theme of World TB Day 2022 – is ‘Invest to End TB. Save Lives.’ This conveys the urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against TB and achieve the commitments to end TB made by global leaders.
The Department of Bacteriology of the Institute in collaboration with the Department of Chest and Diabetes Clinics of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) and the National Tuberculosis Control Programme (NTCP) marked World TB Day with education and screening of patients for both TB and Diabetes.
The joint TB Team earlier, on 22nd and 23rd March embarked on a two day educational and medical community outreach at the Nii Kojo Ababio Cluster of Schools, Mamprobi and the Agobloshie Makola Number 2 respectively. School children at the Nii Kojo Ababio Cluster of Schools were educated on the TB disease while the traders at the markets were educated and screened for TB, diabetes, and malaria.
On the 25th March, there was an outpatients screening and education for patients for both TB and Diabetes at Chest Clinic, Diabetes Clinic, and the Korle-Bu Polyclinic.
According to Dr. Adwoa Asante-Poku, Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Bacteriology, TB remains a major public health threat in Ghana and the world at large. At the outreach programmes, she reiterated that “the fight against TB requires joint efforts by all stakeholders. Fighting TB means uniting under the overarching theme and sounding the alarm that the low levels of funding for the TB response year after year cannot help eradicate TB as far as the fight against TB is concerned. We need a lot of finances to undertake our activities. We need the full commitment of the Government to tackle TB in Ghana. This includes equipment and other resources”, Dr. Asante-Poku added.
She further indicated that many people are unable to detect TB symptoms early, which complicates the situation if not dealt with on time.
“TB can lie dormant and undetected for years, so it is important to spread awareness. TB anywhere is TB everywhere and we all stand the risk of contracting the disease if we do not act fast. The good news is that TB is curable if we seek medical attention quickly”, she added.
TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers. Each day, over 4100 people lose their lives to TB and close to 28,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 66 million lives since the year 2000. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress made in the fight to end TB. For the first time in over a decade, TB deaths increased in 2020.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is among the health targets of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The team was also engaged on various media platforms to create more awareness on the TB disease.