BRAC-Liberia, an international NGO, has pledged its full support and continued collaboration to the National Leprosy and TB Control (NLTC) program of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) in the fight against the Tuberculosis (TB) disease.
Mr. Lugemwa Ezra Patrick, BRAC-Liberia program manager of Health, made the assertion recently during the World TB Day celebration held at the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) Sports complex in Paynesville, outside Monrovia.
The Day was observed under the theme: “Reach the 3 Million,” with a slogan: “TB Test and Treatment Cured for All.”
The theme also highlighted the fact that TB continues to affect people, despite available effective control measures.
According to Mr. Patrick, as partners in the health sector, BRAC would continue its collaboration and support to MOHSW in order to reach out to people who miss the care they need through community-based TB directly observed treatment short-courses (DOTs) services by “strengthening TB control and management of people with TB/HIV co-infection in Liberia.”
He explained that BRAC in collaboration with the Health Ministry is currently providing TB training to the Government Community Health Volunteers (gCHVs) on recognition and referral of TB suspects, screening of symptomatic contacts of smear positives, DOT, adherence counseling, default retrieval, follow up smear examination, to be brand ambassadors.
Making reference to the WHO statistics and report, Mr. Patrick also stated that the three million people, who are affected by the disease every year, do not get proper care.
“We can reduce or completely stop the spread of TB in this country through community awareness, increase identification of suspected cases as well as following the proper medication to those suspected of carrying the TB viruses,” he assured.
Earlier in her keynote address, National AIDS Commissioner Jessie Duncan said the program is intended to raise awareness of the need to increase access to treatment with people who are affected by the TB disease.
Madam Duncan indicated that the theme calls for collaborative effort to find treatment, and cure the three million people worldwide, who do not get TB services they deserved.
According to her, TB is a major health problems and it causes ill-health among million people each year. She added that the disease caused death to people worldwide.
Quoting reports from the 2012 global health, Madam Duncan noted that an estimated number of 8.6 million people died from the disease including 320,000 deaths among HIV positive persons.
She asked why should the number of TB death be “unexpectedly high” when in fact TB is curable.
Also speaking, National Leprosy TB Control Program Manager, Dr. Catherine Copper, also buttressed earlier speakers who had mentioned the three million sufferers and added: “We need to reach them. Failure to reach the missed has devastated human, health and economic consequences.”
“To reach the three million people that are missed, we need simple and effective solutions. We need to expand access to care, expand screening and testing and improve information flow for quality care.” Dr. Cooper also stated.