May 22, 2013, 10:00 AM
The program manager of NLTP, Adama Jallow, has said one of the targets of the ministry of Health and Social Welfare is to reduce TB prevalence from the current 128 to 118 per 100,000 of the population by 2017.
He was updating journalists on the TB situation in The Gambia at a press briefing held at the NLTP office in Kanifing yesterday, to mark World TB Day.
According to Mr Jallow, some of the strategic objectives include to detect at least 95 per cent of all the TB patients within two weeks of onset of symptoms by 2017, and to achieve and sustain the treatment successes rate of at least 95 percent from a baseline of 89 percent in 2014 for all new patients by 2017.
He also dilated on some of their strategies, which include the provision of high-quality DOTS expansion with improved TB case detection, through quality-assured bacteriology, and further political commitment in terms of increase and sustained financing.
It is also part of their implementation strategies to strengthen laboratory services, increase the number of TB diagnostic centers; standardization of treatment; strengthening of supervision of services and of drug supply management system; implementation of collaboration TB/HIV activities, including planned and improved surveillance of HIV among TB patients, introduction, implementation and scale up of the practical approach to lung health and to strengthening of the overall monitoring and evaluation system, procedure and processes.
He outlined some of their major achievements, such as high political commitment by the government of The Gambia.
He added that they have been progressively maintaining a good programmatic and financial performance in the current GF grant.
The overall national prevalence of all forms of TB in The Gambia is 128/100.000 of the population, which is 3.8 times lower than the 490/100,000 estimated in the 2013 Global TB report; and that the number of new smear-positive TB cases diagnosed has increased from 1306 cases in 2008 to 1475 cases in 2014.
He added that the treatment success rate is 89 percent, which exceeds the WHO target of at least 85 percent, stating that the defaulter rate declined from 14 percent in 2005 to 0 percent in 2014.
Mr Jallow indicated that one of the major achievements was the provision of a digital X-ray machine in Serekunda Hospital and Brikama TB clinic, and scale up TB diagnostic centers in both the prison and military barracks, as well as 38 TB diagnostic centers across the country, thereby improving access to care and support.