Posted: Wednesday, March 22, 2017. 6:41 pm CST.
By BBN Staff: The Ministry of Health is joining the global community in observing World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24th, 2017.
This year’s theme is “Unite to End TB”.
The focus is to increase awareness of the TB national response among patients and healthcare providers in order to strengthen the active surveillance of TB to improve diagnosis and treatment in Belize.
Health regions across the country will be hosting various public information sessions including TB talks, ‘Morning Show’ appearances and booth displays to share information.
The National TB Program of the Ministry of Health continues to improve on the delivery of services it provides to those affected. The Ministry continues to provide training to health care personnel and laboratory staff in new methods for diagnosing TB. Treatment guidelines have been revised in order to improve and standardize treatment and care at the primary level in all districts. Persons diagnosed can access medication and other services free of cost at public clinics.
The Ministry has also strengthened its support network, focusing on treatment supervision with the hiring of adherence counselors now stationed in the most affected areas in the country.
Tuberculosis continues to be one of the leading causes of death among HIV-positive persons in Belize. In 2015, TB was responsible for 35% of HIV deaths. In 2016, the The Ministry reported that there was a total of 120 new cases of Tuberculosis diagnosed. From the total number of new cases, 36 were diagnosed in HIV-positive persons.
There were 23 deaths in 2016 accounting for 19.2% of all those diagnosed in that year. The age group of those affected is between the ages of 20-59, as seen in previous years.
The advancements of the National TB Program and the Ministry of Health are being carried out with support through a grant from Global Fund for 2016-2018.
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