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NewsTuberculosis cases soar in Ghana: Health experts call for urgent action

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Tuberculosis cases soar in Ghana: Health experts call for urgent action

Ghana recorded 19,000 tuberculosis cases in 2023, a significant rise from the 16,500 cases in 2022 and the previous years, according to the National TB Control Programme, Ghana Health Service.

The country had been registering about 14,000 to 15,000 cases annually from 2014 to 2019, far below the 44,000 cases expected to be detected each year.

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Programme manager of the National TB Control Programme, Dr Yaw Adusi-Poku, revealed that out of the 19,000 cases, 5% were children, falling short of the World Health Organization’s target, which suggests that Ghana needs to enhance its diagnostic efforts, aiming for 8 to 10% of diagnoses in children.

Speaking at a training session for journalists in Accra organized by the Ghana National TB Voice Network, Dr Adusi-Poku explained that the increased number of cases in 2023 was attributed to the availability of Gene-Xperts and Cartridges, essential for effective TB diagnosis.

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These interventions, including stool testing for children, contributed to identifying more cases.

Dr Adusi-Poku emphasized the importance of continued support for additional cartridges, especially highlighting the need for government, individual, and institutional support.

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Despite the current availability of cartridges from 2023, concerns arise about their sufficiency for the years ahead, emphasizing the necessity for governmental support.

Addressing the shortage of Gene-Xperts in districts, Dr Adusi-Poku called for expansion and accessibility, advocating for a swift diagnosis process without extensive travel.

He urged media, teachers, and parliament to play a role in monitoring children’s health charts, supporting procurement law amendments, and building health worker capacity to combat TB.

Tuberculosis, an infectious disease primarily affecting the lungs, is a bacterial infection transmitted through the air. Symptoms include prolonged cough, chest pain, weakness, fatigue, weight loss, fever, and night sweats.

Samuel Hackman, executive secretary of the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism, stressed the importance of domestic funding for TB interventions, highlighting the need for urgent attention to procurement and financial laws hindering advanced purchases.

Jerry Amoah-Larbi, coordinator of the Ghana National TB Voice Network, emphasized the media’s crucial role in advocacy, awareness, and activism initiatives to achieve UNHLM TB 2023 targets.

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