Through the UN General Assembly’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the World Health Assembly, world leaders including President Julius Maada Bio have pledged to put an end to the TB epidemic by 2030. The target includes promoting an end to stigmatization and discrimination, building accountability, among other issues that negatively impact on the patients.
TB is regarded as a medical disease but it can also be regarded as a public health disease because it crosses boundaries.
TB according to Dr. Foray is an infectious bacterial disease caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis, citing that the disease most commonly affects the lungs and is transmitted airborne from person to person to people who have weak immune system.
Dr. Foray went on to say that people affected by multi-drug resistance ranges between 400 to 66, adding that 17,169 people were put on TB treatment last year by the Ministry of Health.
“Sierra Leone is considered as one of the high burden countries in the world; and any country that has more than 10,000 people with TB per year is considered a high burden country,” Dr. Foray said adding that TB can affect everywhere of the body and that it was first discovered in 1882.
According to Dr. Foray, persistent coughing, difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain and tiredness are all signs and symptoms of TB, stating that patients should know one or more of these signs and symptoms.
According to WHO TB Media Officer Dr. Kassa Ketema every single person is risk of contracting the disease because the disease spreads in a crowd setting, adding that migrants and refugees are more exposed to the disease.
People living with HIV and malnutrition according Dr. Kassa Ketema are at risk of developing the disease most especially children and women, stating that malnutrition is the major risk factor.
Dr. Kassa Ketema went on to say that alcohol, smoking, malnutrition and HIV are also among the risk factors of developing TB, adding that vaccination has help reduce the outbreak and infection rate of TB for children as 10 million people are affected annually of which 1 million are children.