Tanzania joins world in marking TB day as deaths hit 1.4m annually

29Mar 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Tanzania joins world in marking TB day as deaths hit 1.4m annually

THE Tuberculosis Day was observed at Kiwangwa, forty kilometres from Bagamoyo, amidst the glaring fact that the disease is responsible for the deaths of nearly 1,400,000 people every year throughout the world.

minister of health, Ummy Mwalimu

The central message at the one-day function was “TB is Treatable and Curable,” provided patients are known and recorded for further medical treatment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year TB only infects 8,600,000 people and claims nearly 1,400,000 lives globally.

Symptoms of the infectious disease were laid bare to the people by Ifakara Health Institute research doctor of, Dr Omar Juma, and further supported by a short drama performed by four artists from Afri Culture Troupe.

The basic five physical symptoms which people have been urged to observe in patients were--constant coughing for more than two weeks; coughing accompanied with blood sputum; profuse sweating at night and fever; loss of body weight; and chest pain.

The Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) branch at Bagamoyo, through the semi-independent body of Community Advisory Board (CAB), had appointed two members at each of the twelve villages, towns and hamlets in Bagamoyo District to detect such patients.

The CAB comprises 32 members under its chairman, Sayed Abdul Hai, and secretary Mikidadi Ramadhani. The entire exercise of treatment through new trial drugs after undergoing scientific laboratory detection was free.

The chief guest at the TB Day, Kiwangwa Ward Officer Hemed S. Magaso, urged the town dwellers to make use of the opportunity of free treatment as it was well known that TB if not treated could cause death.

He reminded the people that just as TB was dangerous and a killer disease, HIV/Aids was equally fatal, urging people to be cautious about unprotected sex.

People were given biscuits, a variety of sweets and clean mineral water donated by the Past Governor of Lions Clubs International, Abdul Majid Khan.

In the recent past the Past Governor was coordinator for the country-wide vaccination programme against measles/rubella.
A football match was organised between Bagamoyo football team Coastal Star against Kiwangwa Rangers where the host team was defeated 0-1. The winning side was presented with a goat and the losers a rooster.

TB is reportedly one of the biggest health challenges facing Tanzania as the disease kills an estimated 12,000 people annually.

"We need to eliminate stigma and ensure all affected people have access to care in order to reduce the burden of the disease in the country," Minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children, Ummy Mwalimu, has said.

"Even after a century, TB is still a threat in the country as stipulated in the Maputo Declaration of 2005,” Mwalimu said in marking World TB Day.

The minister said that total victory over the disease would require united efforts as ending the epidemic requires actions beyond the Ministry of Health alone. World TB Day is marked each year on March 24 and this year's theme is 'Unite to End TB'.
TB is primarily an airborne disease spread through microscopic droplets that accompany everyday actions such as speaking, sneezing, coughing, laughing or singing.

It spreads most easily where people spend time in close contact with each other.
Mwalimu said each person must do more to engage affected persons and communities as well as non-governmental organisations (NGOs), researchers and the private sector.

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