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WHO Reveals TB Case Findings in Liberia

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Monrovia – A study conducted by the World Health Organization on Tuberculosis (TB) has revealed an estimated amount of 86,000 cases in Liberia.

On Friday, July 19, the WHO, the Ministry of Health, other government agencies and private institutions jointly reviewed the qualitative research conducted by WHO Team in the country.

The research has however shown increase notifications of TB cases Montserrado and Maryland counties.

Presenting the findings, Dr. Farai Mavhunga, WHO Program Review Head said, “Our vision is to see Liberia Free of TB by 2030, and our vision is to help provide high quality, universal TB and leprosy service to reduce incidents of TB.” 

With the staggering figure of TB Cases, Liberia is now among 30 high burden countries in the world. 

Dr. Francis Kateh, Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer, acknowledged WHO and said “this finding will now serve as a ‘mirror’ or ‘ road map’ toward ending TB in Liberia by 2030.”

Dr. Kateh cautioned the UN agency about being “brutally” honest in identifying faults and errors from all parties in the fight against TB. 

In the wake of the report, the National Leprosy and Tuberculosis control program (NLTCP) at the Ministry of Health has adopted a set of innovations to improve TB cases notification and treatment outcomes thus necessitating an integrated TB Program Review for in-depth analysis and evaluation to facilitate a better understanding of the situation.

In early July, the Ministry of Health combined with the WHO to conduct the TB Program review in Lofa, Bong, Montserrado, Grand Bassa, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Gbapolu, Cape Mount, Maryland, and River Gee Counties. 

Excluding Montserrado and Maryland Counties, the remaining 10 counties showed a low rate of TB cases. 

The study also revealed that people are likely to contract the disease is around 50 to 54 years.

Meanwhile, the WHO says there’s a universal decrease in TB, but the situation in Liberia is further complicated by the increasing prevalence of Drug-Resistant and high incidence of HIV infection. 

The review highlighted key developments on the strategic plan developed from 2014-2018, with a question on who to implement and what to implement in specific TB control areas. 

WHO findings produced valuable information on TB from a local and continental level amid challenges from partners, technicians and limited access to information gathering and data usage. 

The WHO has also recommended a new development on the next strategic plan to address structural issues in term of program leadership, supervision and specific mentorship to programmers.

 “A standardized treatment is needed in all public health facilities to treat patients with strong drug-resistant TB,” said Dr. Farai Mavhunga.

Targeted individuals for Tuberculosis include prisoners, Slum dwellers, miners, and ghettos.  

At the same time, the National Strategic plan on childhood TB prioritizes a dual focus point for both Drug-Resistant TB and Childhood TB. 

Children data in 2018, showed 1260 with TB in the country. Out of this figure, 612 are below five, another 604 children are between five and 14.

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