Today, the 24th March 2013 is set aside by the World Health Organization WHO as the day to mark the fight against Tuberculosis. The intention is to create awareness amongst the populace and to set up a day in a year when those involved in the eradication programme would sit back and look at the fight so far, what has been achieved , and what the contraints are, what challenges there are, what issues were raised in the course of the fight. With all the information gathered from the above, a road map is expected that will chart the course of action for the next one year. For those of us who have dedicated our lives to the fight, this is a day of reflection and action.
What do we see?
We see the donor countries resolving to continue sending aids to the developing countries in spite of the obvious lack of these countries to provide adequate data on the prevalence of the disease and good accountability for the donations so far received.
We see the recipient countries, in spite of their poverty and ridiculously low budget for healthcare, earmarking substancial amount of money for celebration of the World Tuberculosis Day. If these fund were to be used to raise awareness of the disease and the efforts of the government, one would not have much issues with it. But today will soon pass like any other day with nothing to mark the day as special and nothing to show for the huge sum of money set aside by our various governments and agencies. In fact, today will pass and no one will ever mention anything about the allocations for the World Tuberculosis Day.
Some challenges we face
1. There are some challenges inherent in the program itself. The D.O.T.S. regimen we adopt in Nigeria, for instance places emphasis on AFB identification in sputum of patients before treatment is commenced. We all know how difficult it is to obtain good quality sputum from patients. We also know that in children, sputum production for test is an almost impossible task. Then of course, a doctor knows that not finding AFB in sputum does not rule out Tuberculosis.
2. In the Public-Private Initiative programme where my health institution belongs, we are supplied the drugs and we have personnels trained for the job. But the means of diagnosis of the case has to still be paid for by the patients who in most cases are even finding it financially challenging transporting themselves to our centres for their free drugs.
3. We in the private institutions commit our resources into caring for these patient without any incentives from the government. Our resources, our manpower, special areas of our clinics, and precious time we could have used treating other fees paying patients are all utillized and yet we get nothing in return. Rather, the emphasis is on ensuring the records are returned as at when due. Not realizing that we have to keep up with other activities from where we derive the sustainance of our clinics/hospitals.
We on the programme are commited to ensuring that the fight against tuberculosis is sustained and won. We are motivated by the desire to see a tuberculosis free environment and nothing gladdens our heart more than seeing our patient successfully completing their trearments.
We at DeolaOnline blog wishes all a happy ans successful World Tuberculosis Day.