The National Leprosy and Tuberculosis Control Programme Manager, Dr. Alie H. Wurie has on Wednesday June 18 disclosed that the rate of Sierra Leonean children contracting tuberculosis yearly “is becoming a problem.”
Speaking at the J&E Resort in Bo where medical practitioners from across the country have converged to review the year 2013, the problem, he stated is further compounded by “the influx of vulnerable children affected by TB into the country.” He emphatically stated that 14% of children in Sierra Leone are infected with TB.
As Leprosy transmission, Dr. Wurie said cases are still coming out from children. In 2013 alone, he revealed, an estimated 37, 954 (thirty-seven thousand nine hundred and fifty four) children were screened for TB, slightly higher than the suspected TB cases in 2012 estimated at 30, 892 (thirty thousand eight hundred and ninety two).
This threat, he maintained, can only be reversed by “Transitional Funding Mechanisms, Quality Case Management and Defaulter Tracing” He also expressed high need for the “intensification of efforts” in high risk communities. The country he said needs to stand up together to fight TB describing the disease as “a common killer among women and children” in the country.
In spite of these however, Dr. Wurie noted a success rate of 90% in 2013 as against the 88% success rate recorded for 2012. It was against this background that Dr. Wurie disclosed that the programme has commissioned 20 new Tuberculosis Directly Observed Treatment Service Centers across Sierra Leone.
The Chief Laboratory Technician of the German Leprosy Relief Association, Abu George revealed that his organization has since 1981 started collaborating with the Health and Sanitation Ministry to fight TB in the country. He recalled that it was in 1981 that the country recorded the highest high rate of leprosy infections. This collaboration he maintained, led to the mounting of successful TB Prevention and Control Awareness Raising Campaigns which he said led to the establishment of a Central TB Reference Laboratory.
The District Medical Officer of Bo, Alhaji Dr. Seni Turay confirmed the trend but focused his attention on what he said is a “current overarching threat” to the nation due to the Ebola prevalence. He therefore appealed to all medical practitioners to put shoulders to the wheel to avert what he said was slowly turning to a pandemic.