World TB day is celebrated annually on 24th March to increase awareness about the disease and step up efforts to end the global epidemic. Scientists across the globe chose 24th March since it was the day German scientist, Robert Koch, first presented his discovery of the bacterium that causes TB.
This year’s theme “Yes! We Can End TB” aimed to inspire hope and encourage high-level leadership, increased investments, faster uptake of new World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, and adoption of innovations, accelerated action and multi-sectoral collaboration to combat the TB epidemic.
The Institute in collaboration with the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital with support from Ussher and Mamprobi Hospitals marked the World TB Day with TB and diabetes screening for residents at Chorkor, Tea Garden and educational outreach at the Evangelical Presbyterian Church School, Mamprobi.
TB and diabetes screening at Chorkor, Tea Garden
TB educational outreach at Evangelical Presbyterian Church School, Mamprobi
The exercise formed part of the activities to commemorate the day and to demonstrate the Institute’s commitment to providing high-end laboratory diagnostic and monitoring and surveillance services in support of national public health.
Dr. Adwoa Asante-Poku, Senior Research Fellow, NMIMR
Dr. Adwoa Asante-Poku, a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Bacteriology at the Institute explained that TB remains a major global health threat to humans which is important to constantly educate community members about the disease and how to prevent it.
“We feel it is better to educate the youth about TB so that they can also educate their parents and community. As part of the activities, we are here today to provide free chest x-ray and diabetes screening to all community members here in Chorkor”, Dr. Asante-Poku said.
She indicated that Chorkor was chosen for the health screening as it has been one of the key communities TB research takes place.
“We thought it wise to give back to the community. They have been coming to the hospital and we have been taking their samples so it serves it right to do this health screening here. This will also provide the platform for those who have recovered from the disease to give testimony to encourage others to always seek for the necessary help immediately they see signs and symptoms of TB. TB treatment at any government health facility is free. You do not pay for anything”, She reiterated.
Some Chorkor residents getting ready for screening
According to WHO, every year, 10 million people fall ill with tuberculosis (TB). Despite being a preventable and curable disease, 1.5 million people die from TB each year – making it the world’s top infectious killer.
TB is the leading cause of death of people with HIV and also a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance.
About a quarter of the global population is estimated to have been infected with TB bacteria, but most people will not go on to develop TB disease and some will clear the infection. Those who are infected but not (yet) ill with the disease cannot transmit it.
People infected with TB bacteria have a 5–10% lifetime risk of falling ill with TB. Those with compromised immune systems, such as people living with HIV, malnutrition or diabetes, or people who use tobacco, have a higher risk of falling ill.
With early diagnosis and encouragement of patients to seek and complete their treatments, the TB team at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research will continue to assist the general public and the government in ending the millions of fatalities brought on by TB.