World TB Day 2022: Noguchi Memorial Institute helps control TB in Ghana

BY: Hadiza Nuhhu-Billa Quansah
In Ghana it is estimated that up to 40 people die of TB disease daily

The Noguchi Memorial Institute is calling for investment in research and Tuberculosis (TB) control activities to save the lives of victims. 

This was contained in a statement issued to commemorate World Tuberculosis Day which is observed around the globe on March 24 each year.
The day is observed to raise public awareness and understanding of TB, which was the number one infectious disease killer until the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s theme ‘Invest to End TB. Save Lives’ is a clarion call to all stakeholders to make this happen to prevent TB infection and stop progression from infection to disease.

This progress can only be achieved through sustained financial investment and commitment by Government and international funders for research control activities.

The statement indicates that though TB and COVID-19 are the two top infectious diseases, in 18 months, about $100 billion was allocated to COVID-19 while of the $15 billion funding promised by the world leaders, less than half has been made available for TB.

According to the statement, each year 10 million people get sick with TB and about 1.5 million die of TB. Thus, each day over 4,100 people die from TB and about 30,000 people fall ill. In Ghana, it is estimated that up to 40 people die of TB disease daily.

The statement further indicated that since the year 2000, much progress has been made globally through research and advocacy, resulting in an estimated 66 million lives being saved.

However, disruption in health delivery services, brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed these trends and for the first time in a decade, there was an increase in TB death in 2020.

The statement said there is therefore, an urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against TB and achieve the commitments to end TB made by global leaders and other stakeholders.

The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana has been working closely with key stakeholders including the National Tuberculosis Control Program (NTP), in the fight against TB through research, training, awareness creation and support to persons with TB.

The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch (a German Physician), announced to the world that he had discovered the germ that causes TB.

This announcement opened the way for an improved diagnosis and treatment for this disease. TB is caused by the germ, mycobacteria. The germ is released by an infected person through coughing, singing, talking and sneezing.

People mainly get infected by breathing in air droplets containing the TB germ expelled by an infected person. One can also get infected by eating or drinking an infected animal product such as unsterilised cow milk.

Some of the signs and symptoms of TB disease include, coughing, night sweats, chest pains, unintentional weight loss and general fatigue. TB germ is treated using a cocktail of four antibiotics for six months