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Thursday, March 26, 2009

World TB day commemorated at Malu'u, North Malaita

By Lensley Kwaimani, Malu'u

World TB Day was celebrated at Malu’u, North Malaita yesterday.

Kemuel Iro and Eddie Lofimanu from Kilu’ufi Hospital led the celebrations here.

According to Mr Iro, they preferred to hold the celebrations yesterday to suit the community’s busy schedule.

World TB Day was marked around he world on Tuesday.

At yesterday’s event TB Coordinator for North Malaita Lawrence Irobaea said this is the first time ever for such programme to be commemorated in the entire region.

He said this should be an opportunity for people there to be alerted to the issue of TB and how great the problem is and to try and convince policy makers and leaders to join in the fight against the disease.

Mr Irobaea said the theme for this year’s World TB Day is “We Simply Must Stop TB”.

He said the theme calls on all people to make their contributions in trying to stop the spread of TB.

He said TB is preventable and can be defeated if we all put our heads and hands together.

Mr Irobaea called on the policy makers to allocate adequate funding and other resources towards the battle against the disease.

And he urged Health Care Providers to efficiently inform communities on what is TB.

Mr Irobaea said communities must help suspected TB patients to consult health workers for investigations.

He said families must make sure anyone who’s coughing for more than three weeks needs to be tested for TB.

And patients are asked to make sure that TB medicines are taken daily.

Mr Irobaea said Malaita Province recorded more than 100 cases of TB last year, the majority of which was from the central region between Sisifiu and Hauhui.

This was followed by the northern region, Ata’a to Arao.

He said Malaita Province still had the highest number of TB cases in the Solomon Islands and even in the Pacific region.

He said in the Malu’u Area Health Centre catchment area, 11 cases were recorded last year.

Mr Irobaea also said the National TB Control Programme plans to reduce the number of TB cases and deaths by half in 2010.

“This is not easy as we have only a year to go, but we need the collaborative efforts of the Government and the general public to combat this public health problem.

“In order for us to achieve this goal we need to improve and strengthen our two important objectives.

“First we must ensure that more than 70 per cent of suspected sputum smears positive cases in the communities are detected and put on TB treatment.

“Secondly, for all cases detected we must ensure to cure more than 85 per cent of them,” he said.

Mr Irobaea said at the national level, the case detection rate is 48%.

“This is very low compared to the 70 per cent target. This increasing trend indicates that TB is still prevalent and on the run in many of our communities.

“If we continue to run the race against TB in this space, then certainly we are losing the race.

“We need more collective efforts from all stakeholders to detect these sputum smears positive cases, and the only way to stop TB is to put them on treatment.”

In his keynote address, Principal of Malu’u Nurse Aide Training School, John Muaki said he is greatly honoured to be invited to present at the gathering.

“We stand and join those around the world who have celebrated the day with our efforts together to stand and fight against this disease called TB,” Mr Muaki said.

He encouraged those that gathered to practice good health practices, having good ventilated homes, and eat good food to prevent TB.

Source: Solomon Star

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