New tu­ber­cu­lo­sis study com­ing in 2017

The Myanmar Times - - News - HTIKE NANDA WIN news­room@mm­times.com

HOP­ING to con­firm a sus­pected slight de­cline in tu­ber­cu­lo­sis cases, the Na­tional TB Pro­gram will launch a preva­lence study next year, the first since 2010.

The coun­try ranks among the 30 worst na­tions in the world in terms of TB bur­den and the mor­tal­ity rate is 49 out of ev­ery 100,000 res­i­dents, ac­cord­ing to 2015 data from the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WHO). TB is an in­fec­tious dis­ease that most com­monly im­pacts the lungs. Due to mul­ti­ple-drug re­sis­tance and ex­treme drug re­sis­tance, com­bat­ing the bac­te­rial in­fec­tion has proved chal­leng­ing.

But by study­ing case re­ports from 1994 to 2015, ex­perts have tracked what ap­pears to be a slow re­duc­tion in TB cases start­ing in 2012, Na­tional TB Pro­gram man­ager U Si Thu Aung said at a TB sym­po­sium held on Novem­ber 19.

“We do not know if there is re­ally a re­duc­tion in TB cases as we do not have a full pic­ture of all the TB cases,” he said. “Thus, we will pre­pare a Na­tional Preva­lence Sur­vey for next year. We are cur­rently pre­par­ing for it. We con­ducted the third sur­vey in 2009-10.”

The last TB study re­vealed a preva­lence rate three times higher than the global av­er­age and one of the high­est in Asia.

Union Min­is­ter for Health and Sports U Myint Htwe said the gov­ern­ment has an op­er­a­tional plan for fight­ing TB. They will con­duct na­tional mon­i­tor­ing of the dis­ease through an eval­u­a­tion bank, he said.

“We need to pro­mote a mix of public and pri­vate or­gan­i­sa­tions, not only to stop TB but for many other dis­eases, both com­mu­ni­ca­ble and non-com­mu­ni­ca­ble,” he said. “It is very im­por­tant for us. We will al­ways work in col­lab­o­ra­tion with lo­cal NGOs, in­ter­na­tional NGOs, UN agen­cies, or­gan­i­sa­tions, as­so­ci­a­tions, foun­da­tions and many oth­ers with like-minded en­ergy.”

Myan­mar Med­i­cal As­so­ci­a­tion MDR-TB project pro­gram co­or­di­na­tor U Khin Swe Win high­lighted the im­por­tance of aware­ness about TB, not just for med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als but for the public at large.

TB is one of the top 10 causes of death world­wide, ac­cord­ing to the WHO. The or­gan­i­sa­tion aims to end the TB epi­demic by 2030.

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