Jul 14, 2008, 7:02 AM
The people of the Central River Region recently observed World Tuberculosis Day in Janjanbureh town, CRR south.
The commemoration was characterized by a match -past in the streets of Janjanbureh to the office of the regional governor where speeches were delivered.
The match-past was attended by school children, health workers, youths, women, government officials and a cross-section of the local community led by Armitage Scout Band.
Speaking on the occasion, the deputy governor of CRR, Alhagie Malang Saibo Camara said, World Tuberculosis Day is commemorated on March 24th annually and Gambia also joined the rest of the world to observe the important day.
According to him, the day is a day for all and sundry to sit and reflect back and see how much is done and what are the short-comings and device ways and means of tackling some of the bottle neck.
“As we gathered here to observe this day, this provides an opportunity for people around the world to raise public awareness about the disease and the efforts made to control and to eliminate TB as a public health problem,” he said.
He noted that President Jammeh recognised health as a central long-term driver of economic growth, and as a result of his firm commitment the Government of the Gambia through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has over the years made significance progress in the fight against TB in the Gambia.
Baba Njie the regional health director stated that 24th March is a day set aside to recognize the collaborative efforts of all countries involved in the fight against TB. This year’s slogan “stop TB in my lifetime” goes with the theme of calling for a world free of TB.
To him, within the context of a recent Global Fund TB Grant-Round 9, his ministry as the principal recipient has successfully implemented activities which include scaling-up diagnostic and treatment centres to improve access to TB services and increase case detection, incorporating voluntary counseling and testing services in diagnostic and treatment centre’s provision of food support to all TB patient and transport refund to TB patients coming review.
In The Gambia, unlike many developing countries diagnosis and treatment of TB is provided free of charge to all irrespective of nationality.
Noting that, in commemorating this important day a series of awareness creation activities ranging from radio/TV phone-in programs and panel discussions will be undertaken during the week.
Alhagie Cham the CRR NAS coordinator also talksedabout the relationship between TB and HIV/AIDS while emphasising that TB continues to be a leading cause of death among people living with HIV, accounting for an estimated 380,000 deaths.
“We should encourage those who have TB symptoms to report to the nearest health facility for a check-up, because TB can be easily cured provided that the person accesses treatment at the early stages of TB development.”
Manyo Kandeh the regional Leprosy and TB control officer spoke on the dangers of TB and its mode of transmission, prevention and control measures.
Kandeh used the opportunity to thank health care workers, voluntary organizations, individuals, and private sector and donor partners for their continuous participation in the fight against TB in The Gambia.