TB contamination rates fall – officials

The number of people contaminated with Tuberculosis and those who succumb to it in the country has significantly decreased thanks to the prevention and treatment efforts, Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC) says.

Dr Patrick Migambi, the Division Manager in charge of Tuberculosis prevention and treatment at RBC, told The New Times last week that; “incidence rate of tuberculosis contamination reduced from 63 people per 100, 000 in 2014 to 50/100,000 in 2017”.

He shared the latest figures during an event to mark the International Day against Tuberculosis which in Rwanda was observed during an event held at Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational Training Centre in Lake Kivu last week.

He said that the number of tuberculosis deaths declined from 9 people per 100,000 in 2014 to 6 in 2015 and further down to 3 people per 100,000 by last year.

Reports show that by 2016/2017, there were about 6,000 tuberculosis patients,  while globally, there were 10 million people contaminated.

According to Sustainable Development Goals goals, by 2035 government will have reduced new tuberculosis contaminations by 90 per cent and deaths by 80 per cent, he said.

Migambi noted that Rwanda needs to sustain efforts in prevention and treatment considering that some of the neighboring countries have high incidence rate of the disease.

Uganda, Tanzania, DR Congo and Kenya are among 30 countries worldwide with high number of people contaminated with tuberculosis.

‘‘We need to strengthen control measures and treatment efforts to ensure we reach the SDG targets,” he added.

Migambi said treatment period takes between six and 12 months for those with less intensity while those with high intensity of Tuberculosis are currently treated in only nine months which (down from 20 months).

RBC said it carried out a five-day screening campaign this month where of 3,893 youth who were screened, 285 were found with tuberculosis signs of which only two youth were found with tuberculosis.

According to Assistant Commissioner of Police Gilbert Rwampungu Gumira, the Deputy Director General of National Rehabilitation Service (NRS), the prevention efforts are timely, particularly in institutions that hosts many youths like Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational Training Centre that currently has over 4,000 youths.

Most of the youth at Iwawa are former delinquents and drug addicts, which makes them vulnerable to deceases like TB.

Gumira called for more  support to the centre in terms of more health infrastructure and permanent skilled staff, laboratory capacity and quarantine space in case of contagious diseases, especially since the facility targets to admit 6,000 youths next year for rehabilitation.

Besides changing the youths’ bad behavior through rehabilitation, the centre equips them with vocational skills in different fields and on graduation they are linked to local authorities that give them tool kits.

Shema Ngabonziza, one of the youth rehabilitated from Iwawa is a TB survivor and says health is important for the youth.

“When I discovered that I had TB before coming here, I went to hospital and was given drugs. But later I suspended the drug regimen I had been prescribed and returned to drug abuse,” Ngabonziza said.

It wasn’t until he was brought to the facility that he was able to get proper treatment and has since recovered.

“I would like to call upon fellow youth to avoid drugs since they are the source of many problems including such dieases.”



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