By Paul Lamin in Kenema
The Kenema District Health Management Team, in collaboration with the National TB Control Programme, has concluded a day scaling up Tuberculosis Prevention and Control Programme meeting with the aim of achieving zero TB prevalence in Kenema District and the country at large.
The meeting, which took place at the Peace Garden Conference Hall at Reservation area by Fire Force, Kenema City, brought together community stakeholders including chiefs, councilors, police and, military personnel, among others.
With regards the purpose of the meeting, the MDR TB Vocal Person in the National Leprosy and TB Control Program in Freetown, Manjo Lamin, stated that they were in Kenema to increase awareness and engage the community stakeholders in the fight against TB.
According to him, based on national statistics, Sierra Leone has high rate of TB in the country. The country is reportedly said to be in a high burden when it reports above 250 cases out of 100,000.
He said Sierra Leone has 304 cases for every 100,000 of the population. He furthered that for Kenema District, the population is 651,000, and out of this population, Kenema is supposed to get 1,981 cases per year and, based on record, they have found out that Kenema was not able to pick all the 1,981 cases. This means there are still cases of TB in Kenema District, which is why they targeted Kenema.
Manjo Lamin furthered that Kenema is one of the high burden TB districts in the country as TB is on the increase in Kenema district.
They have found out that they were supposed to detect 40% of TB cases but they could not because of many reasons. They only way they could pick out these forty cases from the community is to continue telling people to expand.
He said they now have one 170 door centers all over the country plus 1,250 PHUs. Out of this number only 170 provide TB diagnoses and testing.
Because of this, they decided to look at districts that have hard working people and districts that have challenges with TB. He said Kenema is one district that has hard working District Management Team. Because of the challenges with TB, they have decided to pilot TB specimen’s referral as one of the strategies for diagnosing more TB cases in Kenema.
He called on all and sundry to collaborate in sensitizing the community people and encourage any person suspected of coughing for two weeks to report to the health center for TB test.