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Belize observes ‘World Tuberculosis Day 2018’

Posted: Thursday, March 22, 2018. 8:20 a.m. CST.

By BBN Staff: Every year on March 24th, the world observes Tuberculosis Day.

The negative impact of tuberculosis (TB) in developing countries such as Belize continues to be of significant concern as it is associated with high mortality rates in HIV positive persons.

Today, the Belize Ministry of Health is inviting the public to come out and learn more about TB at its health fair which is being held at the Battlefield Park in Belize City.

This year’s theme, “WANTED: leaders for a TB-Free World” calls on everyone to lead the efforts in improving the response to ending TB.

In 2017, the Ministry of Health reported that there was a total of 117 new cases of TB diagnosed nationally of which 114 were pulmonary tuberculosis and three were extra-pulmonary tuberculosis.

“The most affected age group continues to be between 20-49, as has been the case in previous years. Of the new cases, 28 were diagnosed in HIV positive persons (24%). Tuberculosis is therefore described as one of the leading causes of death in HIV positive persons and in 2016 was responsible for about 40% of HIV deaths,” the Ministry of Health says.

The National TB Program of the Ministry of Health continues to improve the delivery of services by:

  1. Providing high quality and effective drugs and other services free of cost to those affected with TB.
  2. Continued training of health care personnel and laboratory staff locally and abroad in newer methods for diagnosing TB, providing TB treatment and care, and other areas of concern at the primary care level in all districts.
  3. Providing standardized treatment with supervision and support from adherence counselors in the most affected areas of the country.

The initiatives of the National Tuberculosis Program and the Ministry of Health are being carried out with support from a Global Fund for 2016-2018 which aids in strengthening the National Tuberculosis Program’s response to the TB epidemic in Belize.

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