Tuberculosis (TB) disease is real, treatment is freely available and cure attainable. This was the message to the Kanifing Hotel School students, during a TB educational event on Friday 10th March 2017.
To raise awareness and work towards the elimination of TB in The Gambia, the TB team from MRC Unit The Gambia (MRCG) together with the Gambian Government, the National Leprosy and TB Control Programme (NLTP), gathered at the Hotel School, in Kanifing, to educate students about TB. This community outreach event is part of a series of activities marking World Tuberculosis (TB) day, celebrated globally on March 24th. The event was attended by 200 students.
Enlightening the students about TB, which still remains a major global health threat, causing serious illness and death worldwide. Dr Muyiwa from MRCG gave a simplified presentation on how to recognise a likely case of TB disease by symptoms, the mode of transmission and self- protection strategies to employ.
He spoke about the lack of appropriate knowledge on seeking treatment at an early stage of the disease, which is a strong factor contributing to spread and death from TB disease. Adults with TB can transmit the disease to their close contacts, including children. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment initiation is important in breaking the transmission cycle.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates in 2015, every year 10.4 million people get TB disease with 1.8 million deaths, despite the availability of drugs proven to effect cure over decades. In the greater Banjul area there are 11 TB treatment centres with the greatest proportion of patients diagnosed from: Serrekunda Health Centre, Jammeh foundation for Peace Hospital, Fajikunda Health Centre and Brikama Health Centre.
Dr Muyiwa emphasised the importance of remembering that anyone with TB can be cured, if they get diagnosed and treated with the right drugs in time.
During the event students had the opportunity to ask questions to improve their understanding. At the end of the event, the students’ general understanding of TB was tested and prizes awarded.