Tuberculosis outbreak looms as bacteria grow drug-resistant

The fight against TB is expected to be intensified in the coming days[/caption] Ghana faces imminent Tuberculosis outbreak as the country is recording increasing numbers of emerging transmission of drug-resistant strain of bacteria amongst newly diagnosed patients. This is causing a multi-drug resistance, a situation where the TB bacteria are resistant to treatment with at least two of the most powerful first-line anti-TB medications (drugs). In an interview with TV3’s health correspondent, Esi Benewaa Nyame, Deputy Manager at the National Tuberculosis Control Programme Dr. Nii Nortey Hanson-Nortey expressed worry about the trend, saying the National TB control is challenged financially to have a firm grip of the situation. “Instead of dealing with drug susceptible-cases, we are diagnosing drug resistant TB cases that is going to pose a lot of financial challenge for the country, Dr Hanson-Nortey said. “It takes a long time to treat multi-drug resistant TB and we are limited in resources. If Ghana is not able to control drug resistant TB, it would affect our quest to meet the End TB target.” He said previously those known to have been treated for drug resistant TB were as a result abuse of in frequent use of TB medication. Clinical pharmacist and infectious disease specialist Francisca Zigah, who works at the Department of Chest Diseases at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, raised concerns that through contact tracing TB has become evident that a lot more people were affecting their families and that paints a gloomy picture for the country. “One of the patients has affected two of his children, the youngest is 6 years and these children would have to go through the treatments as well. Multi-drug resistant TB treatment is not easy at all.” Ghana in 2013 recorded 26 multi-drug resistant cases nationwide, 15 cases in 2014, 61 cases in 2015, 77 cases in 2016 and between January and June this year, the country has recorded  54 cases and there are fears. Francisca Zigah called for more funding to be allocated to the programme to do effective contact tracing to avert further spread of the disease. She called on people to seek early intervention.

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By Esi Benewaa Nyame|TV3||Ghana ]]>