JIS News

The Ministry of Health’s tuberculosis (TB) strategic plan is in an advanced stage of development and is expected to be completed by December 2009.
Director of Health Promotion and Protection in the Ministry, Dr. Eva Lewis Fuller, explained that the plan “seeks to give focus on the situation regarding TB in Jamaica and it is extended to the various sectors that have anything at all to do with TB.”
She was speaking to JIS News at the opening of a two-day TB workshop for health care professionals yesterday (November 5) at the Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort in Ocho Rios.
“The plan is well advanced and emanating from that will be a proposal to the Global Fund (to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria) to try and garner some additional funding to put in place infrastructure and other technologies that we need to keep tuberculosis under control,” Dr. Lewis Fuller stated.
She told JIS News that tuberculosis is being contained at a “manageable level” in Jamaica, with just over 100 cases reported each year.
“This works out to a prevalence rate of less than five cases per 100,000, which is quite acceptable and quite low when compared to other countries. We do not want that to change and as a matter of fact, we would like to see a total elimination of tuberculosis from our country by the year 2030 and that is in keeping with the Millennium Development Goal (MDG),” she stated.
The workshop, which is being held in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), seeks to increase the knowledge of health care workers about the situation locally, and to help them better manage the disease.
Participants will benefit from discussion sessions on tuberculosis epidemiology in Jamaica and the globe; tuberculosis transmission and pathogenesis; and management of the disease in adults and children.
“What we are trying to do here is to be proactive and to sensitise our health workers to these issues that are occurring in the world so that we can intensify our efforts to find cases of tuberculosis and HIV/TB co-infections, and to have them diagnosed early and treated fully, to cure the tuberculosis and ensure that (persons) are on treatment for HIV, to prevent a massive resurgence of tuberculosis in Jamaica,” Dr. Fuller told JIS News.
She urged the participants to grasp all that they can from the workshop as the Ministry continues to put the necessary plans in place that will result in the eradication of the disease from the island.
“We are encouraging the health workers to do more in the field, investigate the cases more efficiently, find the cases and treat them,” she added.
Portfolio Minister, Ruddy Spencer, in his message to mark World TB Day on March 24, said that the Ministry is working persistently to educate the public and enhance TB prevention and control.
He called on health care professionals working in TB prevention and control to “do their part in bringing attention to a devastating illness that must be stopped.”

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