May 2, 2014, 10:01 AM
The aim of the training was to inform journalists with the knowledge and skills in supporting policy issues in the prevention and control of tuberculosis in The Gambia.
Dr Makki Taal, permanent secretary, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, in his opening statement, said The Gambia began implementing the direct observer treatment DOTS strategy well before it was recommended and adopted by the World Health Organization in 1991 as the most effective strategy for TB control.
Dr Taal pointed out that cognizant of the important and critical role journalist play in society, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare deemed it proper and prudent to bring them on board in the fight against the debilitating disease.
According to him, in 2010, there were an estimated 8.5 to 9.2 million cases and 1.2 to 1.5 million deaths including deaths from TB among HIV positive people, adding that TB is the second leading cause of death from an infectious disease worldwide.
Speaking early, Adama Jallow, manager of the National Leprosy and TB Control Programme (NLTP), hailed the Ministry of Health for the significant progress it has made in the control of TB in The Gambia, particularly with respect to DOTs expansion, diagnosis and treatment.
He further noted that the NLTP will continue to collaborate with health journalists as it is one of the ways of insuring the active participation of all in the crusade against TB.
He revealed that the second quarter of 2005, there were only 11 DOTs expansion countrywide; however there are presently 34 TB diagnostic and treatment centres in the country.
For his part, Francis Mendy, secretary general of the Health Journalist Association, assured of his association’s commitment to strive and strengthen their partnership with the NLTP in the fight against TB.
Modou Njai, Director of Health Promotion and Education, in his closing remarks, expressed sincere appreciation to the NLTP for establishing of a stronger partnership with the media in the dissemination of information around TB in general.