Media urged to support campaign against TB

BY: Rebecca Quaicoe Duho & Yaa Kuffour Senyah
Mr David Kwesi Afreh, (right), Board Chairman, Stop TB Partnership Ghana, addressing the workshop
Mr David Kwesi Afreh, (right), Board Chairman, Stop TB Partnership Ghana, addressing the workshop

The Vice-President of the Ghana Journalists Association, Mrs Linda Asante Agyei, has urged journalists and media organisations to use their platforms to create awareness about tuberculosis (TB).

She said although TB could be treated, many people ended up dying of it because of ignorance.

“As journalists, we have a responsibility to society to educate people about TB and let them know that it is not a disease that cannot be treated. There is medication and help out there and we must drum it home always,” she said.

Mrs Agyei was speaking at a training workshop dubbed: “Strengthening the TB response Through Multi stakeholder Partnership” to educate journalists about TB to equip them with the requisite knowledge on how to report on the disease.

The training was organised by the STOP TB Partnership, a group that highlights and educates people about TB, in collaboration with the National TB Control Programme.

The meeting highlighted the key targets and commitments signed by the Heads of State and government representatives at the United Nations Health High Level Meeting on TB in 2018 on the solutions to fight TB by 2022.

The Board Chairman for Stop TB Partnership Ghana, Mr David Kwesi Afreh, said TB cases had increased since the onset of the COVID-19.

A pilot study conducted in the first quarter of 2019 in the Greater Accra Region on 206 suspected COVID-19 patients, he said, recorded 13 per cent of TB cases as compared to 9.7 per cent of COVID-19 cases among the suspected participants.

According to Mr Afreh, the cases of TB were being overshowded by COVID-19 and, therefore, making it impossible to identify and treat the cases.

A United Nations report dubbed “The Deadly Divide: TB Commitments versus TB Realities” reveals that there have been important advances by governments and member states in all areas of action.

Mr Afreh, however, said the progress was too little and too slow with a “deadly divide” between commitments and results.

He said the accountability for the response to TB remained weak, with multi-sectoral and high level leadership often inadequate, adding that funding for TB was inadequate.

The report, he said, called on donors and multilaterals to increase investments in the response in affected communities.

Utilising platforms

The Programme Manager, National TB Control Programme, Dr Yaw Adusi-Poku, called on media practioners to use their platforms to bring bodies on board to help fight the disease.

He also appealed to civil society organisations and individuals for support to acquire the GeneXpert machine for the fast diagnosis and detection of the tuberculosis bacteria among the populace.