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MRC reaffirms commitment to overcoming TB in Gambia

Mar 24, 2015, 9:25 AM | Article By: Adama K. Jallow

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has reiterated its stance and commitment to fighting and ensuring tuberculosis is history in The Gambia.

The MRC yesterday joined the rest of the world to celebrate World TB Day 2015, which was held at the Mandinary Health Centre on the theme: “Stop TB at the source: find, treat and cure TB.”

MRC annually joins the World Health Organization, Gambia government and the rest of the world to celebrate World TB Day, which also creates an opportunity for the council to interact with communities on their interventions.

Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Beate Kampmann, team leader of Vaccinology at MRC Unit-The Gambia, said MRC had joined the Gambia government and WHO to combat TB anywhere it is found.

She said TB is a problem not only in The Gambia, but also in other countries around the world with people in many households getting infected every year. He emphasised the need to find and treat those affected by the disease.

The Gambia government and the World TB Programme “are contributing immensely to providing therapy for patients,” she said, adding that MRC would always work toward improving on diagnosis and get patients treated.

“The MRC goes as far as to houses to use preventive strategies by making sure that people are saved from getting infected from the disease,” she said, adding that they also help the government in preventing the disease.

She added that World TB Programme had done an excellent job in fighting the disease in The Gambia.

Her priorities include combating TB in children, as they are the most vulnerable to the disease, she disclosed, adding that TB in children is as a consequence of TB in adults.

She also commended healthcare workers in all the regions, for being aware of how to help prevent TB, and for working in collaboration with the National TB Programme, which also trains healthcare workers to fight the disease.

Dr Abdou K. Sillah, a research clinician of the Childhood TB Programme, in his remarks on the day said the WHO and the world community have realized that significant numbers of people are dying as a result of TB, which “is curable.”

“What we can do is to reach out to those people, treat and cure them so that they don’t die from the disease,” he emphasised.

A lot of people get sick from tuberculosis, Dr Sillah said, adding that nobody sees them, but they are either in the homes probably running away from going to the health centres to be treated and diagnosed, because of stigma and discrimination.

Dr Sillah also said early treatment of the disease could help to reduce the rate of people catching it, adding that children are the most vulnerable to the disease.

He also urged people to give blood when required for samples, as the blood used for diagnose helps them to trace and treat the disease.

MRC had contributed immensely through vaccination campaigns by fighting diseases such as malaria, meningitis and tuberculosis, he went on.

MRC and the Gambia government are out to ensure that people are disease-free, Sillah continued.

Mandinary village alkalo Pa Ceesay welcomed and commended MRC for their intervention in fighting TB and other diseases.

MRC’s communication officer, Abdoulie Cham, chaired the occasion.