The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has pledged to join the crusade and contribute its quota to the fight for a TB-Free Ghana.
GJA President, Mr Affail Monney, who made the pledge on behalf of the GJA at the launch of this year's World Tuberculosis Day in Accra on Friday, reminded the media of its role in informing the public about the prevention, control, treatment and cure for TB.
Mr Monney said accurate, sensitive and timely information was required to improve understanding on TB, increase access to TB services and dispel the many myths and misconceptions that persist about the disease.
He expressed the hope that with the support of the National TB Control Programme (NTP) and the commitment of journalists, there would be a TB-Free Ghana in the near future.
In a presentation, Dr Frank Addae Bonsu, Programme Manager, NTP, called for multi-sectoral reforms that would help free Ghana's air of TB bacteria and urged social protection schemes such as the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to support TB treatment and protract TB patients.
Dr Bonsu also stressed the need to monitor Government's stewardship an accountability to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets.
Despite significant progress over the last decades, TB continues to be the top infectious killer worldwide, claiming over 4,500 lives a day. Then also is the emergence of MultiDrug-Resistant TB (MDR-TB) which poses a major health security threat and could risk gains made in the fight against TB.
In 2012, 8.6 million people fell ill with TB, and 1.3 million died from the disease, mostly in the Third World.
WHO reported that there were 1.8 million TB deaths in 2016, while in 2017, 10.4 million people fell ill with TB-- making it the top infectious killer worldwide.
Although anyone can contract it, the disease thrives among vulnerable populations where human rights and dignity are limited, among people living in poverty and in communities, and groups that are marginalized.
World Tuberculosis Day, observed on March 24 annually,is, therefore, designed to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis and to step up efforts and mobilize political, and social commitment for accelerating progress to end the global TB epidemic.
March 24 marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that caused TB, which opened the way towards diagnosis and cure for the disease.
This year's World TB Day is being observed on the theme: "Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world" which focuses on building commitment to end TB, not only at the political level with Heads of State and Ministers of Health, but also at all levels from Mayors, Governors, Parliamentarians and Community leaders to people affected with TB, civil society advocates, health workers, doctors or nurses, NGOs and other partners. In other words, all can be leaders of efforts to end TB in their own work or terrain.
Source: ISD (G.D. Zaney)