Untreated tuberculosis can cause infertility, and damage the brain.
This is why IBIENE joins the global community to commemorate World Tuberculosis Day to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.
An epidemic is when there is an unexpected increase in the number of disease cases in a specific geographical area per time. This is not the case with TB in most developing countries, where TB is an endemic disease. This implies that TB is constantly present all year round in the country. There has been no time there was a zero number of TB cases. TB is always with us and has not yet been eradicated. The worst is that every day, new cases of TB are being detected.
What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is caused by an organism called mycobacterium tuberculosis. There are different types of this organism but common ones are mycobacterium tuberculosis and mycobacterium Africanum. Most of the time, it affects the lungs more than 80 percent of the time. It could affect all parts of the body, including the abdomen, the liver, the kidney, the womb, and the brain.
What are the risk factors of Tb?
Basically, individuals likely to have TB are those who recently contracted a case of tuberculosis or those with diminished immunity, the very young under the age of five years, and the elderly people. Individuals who live in overcrowded settings; hostels, recreational and correctional homes, and IPDs are also at risk. Those with lowered immunity like diabetics; those with HIV, cancers, and kidney disease are at increased risk. The chances of an HIV-infected person having TB is quite high, sometimes as high as 50 percent, which increases for each year the person lives. About 10 to 20 percent of new cases of TB might be related to diabetes. Diabetes breaks down the body’s immune system and so they may succumb more to it.
How fatal can TB be?
It is not supposed to kill, unfortunately, people present late for treatment. By the time they do, complications would have set in; more so if they have other underlying health conditions. Also, the death rate is high among those with drug-resistant TB. But by and large, it is a curable disease, but unfortunately, it is killing people.
Ending TB is a goal, an aspiration that is pursued with definite timelines. The ‘End TB’ strategy aims to reduce the number of people suffering from TB by 90 percent by 2030 while reducing deaths from the disease by 95 percent and protecting families from the negative impact of the disease.
To end TB, we have to;
- Reduce infection rate, and the death rate from TB and remove all forms of catastrophic costs for the patient.
- Create more awareness for people to get tested and treated if they have TB, and encourage leadership and political will for local investments in TB control.
- Expand access to care for all categories of individuals with TB and universal health coverage as most TB treatment-related programs are donor-funded.
- Encourage and adopt local innovations in TB for diagnosis and monitoring of treatment of patients with TB.
Tuberculosis is not a disease that we cannot conquer. Yes, we can!
Do you have any question or comment? Do share with us in the comment section.