Dec 15, 2009, 1:49 PM
As part of commemorations marking World Tuberculosis Day, the Leprosy Unit of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare on Saturday organized a day long quiz competition in observance of the day at
The winning students were awarded prizes ranging from a dictionary, pencils, pens, erasers, set-boxes, drawing books, exercise-books, among other consolation prizes.
It would be noted that the day is observed worldwide on 24th of March each year, and the occasion in The Gambia was funded under the Global Fund for AIDs, TB and Malaria (GFATM).
The theme chosen this year was “On the move against Tuberculosis - Transforming the fight towards elimination”.
The senior administrative officer at the regional health management team in the West Coast Region, Abdou Aziz Ceesay, in delivering the keynote address said Tuberculosis is an infectious disease, caused by a germ.
The organism usually enters the body through inhalation into the lungs, and it spreads from the lungs to other parts of the body via the blood stream, the lymphatic system, via the airways or by direct extension to other organs.
He said that TB develops in the human body in two stages: The first stage occurs when the individual who is exposed to micro-organisms from an infectious case of TB, and becomes infected. The second is when the infected individual develops the disease.
Ceesay explained that its signs and symptoms are loss of weight, loss of appetite, persistent coughing for two-weeks or more, sputum production with blood stains, a general feeling of illness and tiredness, fever, chest pain and night sweats.
He stated that how a patient with TB infects another person, is determined by the concentration of organism within the lungs and their spread into the surrounding air, adding that patients with pulmonary TB in whom the organisms are so numerous, and can be seen only on microscopic examination of sputum specimen (smear positive case) which are the most infectious cases.
Ceesay went further to explain that the infectious patient expels organisms into the air in tiny droplets, when coughing, sneezing or laughing, and that any person may inhale these droplets.
In his remarks, the regional vector control TB and leprosy officer, Kebba Ceesay, also advised the students who took part during the commemoration to disseminate the information to their parents and colleagues. He advised the public to come and seek treatment as it is free of charge.
The principal Bullock school, Ebarr Gomes, expressed his happiness for choosing his school to host the commemoration, describing it as a very interactive and educative session that would benefit both students and teachers.
Ousman BF Jawara, a student and also a peer health educator, who won the master prize, said this will enhance his work because he has something to share with his peers, and promised that he will go from compound to compound to sensitize people. The educational materials, he said, will help him a great deal.