Apr 17, 2012 at 10:40am
Cases Of TB Among Children
NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE INCREASING CASES OF TB AMONG CHILDREN
As the clock ticks towards 2015, nations are bracing themselves up for evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
These are goals set by the UN for especially developing countries to lift their citizens from poverty, provide good health and education amongst others.
All the eight goals are dependent on each other but the most outstanding is probably health.
This is so because, health has implication for a lot of things.
According to the UN, though some of the MDGs are being met others are still lagging behind especially those on health.
For Maternal Mortality the least said about it the better.
Despite all the efforts being made, daily reportage of maternal deaths still seem frightening.
Other diseases such as TB, HIV & AIDS have become a thorn in the flesh of health authorities, simply because of stigmatisation.
It is indeed heartwarming that new strategies are being sought to help society understand the nature of certain diseases and for them to stop stigmatising such patients.
Tuberculosis or TB for instance is a curable disease that is spread via the air, through coughing, sneezing, shouting or singing and since everyone breaths, we are all at risk and as every breath counts, it is important to support those who have been diagnosed as having the disease not to go into hiding and spread it the more.
The TB Control Programme says Ghana has seen an unprecedented increase in detected cases and successful treatment of TB patients over the past 5 years.
The WHO estimates that 85% of all new infectious TB cases detected should be treated successfully, Ghana thankfully achieved this target in 2006, it successfully treated 76.1% of all infected TB cases detected and this increased to 85.3% in 2010.
The challenge now is with childhood TB.
It is for this reason that the year long TB activity is calling for a World Free of TB with the slogan "Stop TB in my Lifetime".
The theme conveys the urgency of the fight against TB and also offers an unprecedented opportunity to focus on an issue that is in need of attention that is Childhood TB.
The world's attention is being called to the urgent need to find all children affected by TB and ensure they receive high-quality treatment and care.
TB control in children, medical experts say has become a herculean problem making it difficult to assess the scope of childhood TB.
It is estimated that 70,000 children die of TB globally.
Ghana recorded an increase in reported cases of childhood TB from 649 cases in 2009 to 884 in 2011.
Children under 3 years and those with severe malnutrition are at the greatest risk of contracting TB.
Infants and young children are at special risk of having often fatal forms of TB such as TB meningitis, which can leave them paralysed, deaf, blind or mentally disabled.
Another reason for undiagnosed childhood TB is the fact that parents are not aware of the signs and symptoms of childhood TB and therefore neglect the simple cough of their children for 2 weeks or more with weight loss and night sweats.
Though Ghana has developed tools and doing well in capturing data on childhood TB, more tools and machines that make it easier to diagnose the disease should be acquired.
As a result of concerns for childhood TB, the National TB Control Programme has developed a communication strategy dubbed "Kick TB out of Ghana".
The strategy is looking at promoting cough etiquette among the population beginning with children.
This is to conscientise them early enough to the disease.
It is important for the adult population to embrace this strategy to help stop the spread of TB.
They must observe simple cough ethics, by covering the mouth and nose with tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing it in a waste bin.
There is an interesting bit here, perchance you might not have tissue, you could nevertheless cough or sneeze into your sleeves or elbow and wash your hands with soap and water.
One may say these are things we know, but how often do we put them into practice.
Serious respiratory illnesses like TB, influenza, whooping cough and others are easily spread through coughing and sneezing especially in crowded places where people are in close contact.
A lot is being done to fast track the health of the nation, it is up to Ghanaians to support these initiatives since health they say is wealth.
BY: THERESA OWUSU AKO, A JOURNALIST.