Posted: Wednesday, March 24, 2021. 11:32 am CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Today is World Tuberculosis (TB) Day and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) is joining in on the global observance, which is being held under the theme “The Clock is Ticking.”
The Ministry notes that the theme highlights the fact that time is running out for global leaders to act on their commitment to end TB. Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 63 million lives since the year 2000, but that the COVID-19 pandemic has put the “End TB” progress at risk and threatened the equitable access to prevention and care in line with WHO’s drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
“In 2020, Belize recorded 72 new cases of Tuberculosis, of these, four were Extra-Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB involving organs other than the lungs). Of that 72, 24 were females and 48 were males. The districts most affected are Belize, Cayo, and Stann Creek. The age groups most affected were between the ages of 15 to 54 years of age, following the same trend as seen in previous years,” the MOHW said.
The Ministry added that its National TB Programme continues to engage in a number of activities to reduce TB in Belize including the expansion of a high-quality directly observed treatment strategy (DOTS); the improvement of methods for early case detection and diagnosis through quality-assured bacteriology in the districts; providing standardized treatment with supervision; ensuring effective drug supply and management at all levels; engaging all care providers with continuous training and re-training; consistent monitoring and evaluation of activities to improve case finding and adherence to treatment; engaging in educational activities, when possible, to increase awareness.
“These initiatives will continue to be supported during these difficult times of the pandemic amidst economic recovery,” the Ministry added.
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