#Article (Archive)

Continued Co-operation Will Yield Great Results

May 29, 2008, 4:29 AM

Well done to the National Leprosy and Tuberculosis Control Programme (NLTP) at the Department of State for Health for organising, and the Global Fund Grant for financing, the two-day training course for health journalists on the prevention and control of tuberculosis. The importance of such a workshop cannot be overemphasised.

Speaking on behalf of permanent secretary at the department, the chief nursing officer Ismalia Njie said that approximately 2.4 million new cases of TB occur each year and that there are 500,000 deaths. This is a very serious situation and one that we must continue to fight tirelessly. Mr. Njie went on to reveal that while Africa accounts for 11% of the world's population, it bears 25% of the global TB burden. This is a shocking figure and must surely spur us on to even greater action. The diagnosis and treatment of TB in The Gambia is provided free of charge to all patients regardless of nationality. This shows that the government is clearly committed to the containment and eradication of the disease. This commitment must continue and measures such as those mentioned above must be expanded, honed and perfected.

It was also very heartening to note that Mr. Njie emphasised the important role that journalists play in society. He said that this is why the Department of State was involving them in the fight against this disease. This is absolutely correct. The role of journalists is an essential one and they are a vital part of a healthy democracy where the public are well informed and educated on such serious issues as TB.

This kind of co-operation between the fourth estate and government shows the great benefits that the general public enjoys from a free and independent press. The press and government must continue in their partnership to help The Gambia on the road to development. Together we can work towards the complete eradication of TB and other diseases such as malaria and HIV and as a result bring wholesale improvements to the lives of every Gambian.


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