NEWS

Slight Decrease In TB Cases Compared To Previous Years

“The increase is alarming and therefore with this in mind the ministry is in the process of formulating a new five year strategic plan and investing in implementation efforts and specifically in the infrastructure to better manage and control drug resistant cases.”
25 Mar 2022 15:12
Slight Decrease In TB Cases Compared To Previous Years
Fiji National University Year 5 medical students while marking World TB day at Twomey hospital on March 24, 2022. Photo: Ronald Kumar

A total of 341 lab confirmed tuberculosis (TB) cases were recorded by the Ministry of Health and Medical Services in 2021.

This was revealed by Health Minister Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete while officiating at the World TB Day celebrations in Tamavua yesterday.

He also commissioned the refurbished isolation ward for drug resistance at the Tamavua TB Hospital during the celebrations.

Dr Waqainabete said this was a slight decrease compared to the previous year, obviously influenced by the broader COVID-19 impact on service accessibility.

“Of these cases four were Multidrug – Resistant TB (MDR TB) which means that they were caused by organisms that were resistant to at least Isoniazid and Rifampin the two most potent TB drugs used to treat all persons with TB disease,” he said.

“The increase is alarming and therefore with this in mind the ministry is in the process of formulating a new five year strategic plan and investing in implementation efforts and specifically in the infrastructure to better manage and control drug resistant cases.”

Dr Waqainabete said in its efforts to address this health threat of TB, the ministry planned to push for the national and Pacific political TB Caucus in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Global TB Caucus.

This, he said, could see Fiji spearhead Pacific efforts to redress the core challenges that TB control programmes in the Pacific were encountering. This is in terms of training, strategic plan and medication stocks for both Fiji and the Pacific regions, especially during any time of national emergency.

“Since the establishment of Tamavua Twomey in 1950 the TB Programme has come a long way in terms of diagnostic tools like traditional X-ray machines to portable X-ray, smear microscopy and TB culture to new modern Gene-X-pert machines in it,” he said.

“Due to the increasing number of gene-X-pert machines in the country, it is practical to invest in TB by decentralising these machines to identified sub-divisional hospital labs to focus on early detection of presumptive TB cases and early initiation of treatment.

“Available and accessible genexpert machines would also make it possible to obtain a better and near accurate estimate of the prevalence of TB in the country which is crucial to informing effective and holistic TB response.”

Feedbackinoke.rabonu@fijisun.com.fj

 



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