By Chrisbert Garcia: A government press release issued earlier today serves to announce that World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is to be observed on March 24th as it is annually, to create public awareness about the illness which is responsible for 1.5 million global deaths each year.
Under this year’s theme, “Unite to end TB”, the Ministry of Health plans to continue a TB reduction strategy that is expected to result in less people being affected by the illness than the 78 cases in last year, of which nine were fatal.
This National TB Program of the Ministry of Health will continue to engage in the following activities as part of a TB reduction strategy. This will be done by:
1. Securing political commitment, with adequate and sustained financing.
2. Improving methods for early case detection, and diagnosis through quality-assured bacteriology in the districts.
3. Providing standardized treatment with supervision.
4. Ensuring effective drug supply and management at all levels.
5. Monitoring and evaluating performance and impact in the peripheral sites.
6. Contributing to health system strengthening based on primary health care.
7. Engaging all care providers with continuous training and re-training.
8. Consistent monitoring and evaluation of activities to improve case finding and adherence to treatment.
9. Educational activities and health fairs which are held in each district to commemorate this day.
These initiatives of the National TB Program will be supported by the new Global Fund Belize grant for 2016-2018, which will strongly enable the national tuberculosis program to improve its national goals and success.