The Programmes Manager for the National Tuberculosis Control, Dr Yaw Aduse-Poku has said that the country’s detection rate of Tuberculosis (TB) has dropped by a whopping 15 per cent.

As the world marked Tuberculosis Day on Wednesday, Aduse-Poku said although the country targets to diagnose about 44,000 cases each year per our population, the Ghana Health Service (GHS) recorded about 14,000 cases of Tuberculosis in 2019 and 12,000 in 2020.

According to him, the outbreak of Covid-19 in 2020 further worsened the detection rate of TB because people shunned from visiting the health facilities with the fear of being diagnosed with Covid due to the similarity of symptoms it has with TB.

“People would not come to the health facility. Even when they come, would not disclose they are coughing because you and I know why because at that time, it was a high stigma because people are afraid to be stigmatized that they were having Covid,” Mr Aduse-Poku told Joy News.

Speaking at a press briefing to mark the day, Dr. Adusei-Poku indicated that the result of a pilot study conducted between January and March in Greater Accra whiles testing for both Covid-19 and TB, revealed that 9% out of 208 samples tested positive for TB while 2% tested positive for coronavirus.

“In fact, it is significant to note that one of the cases among these result was a multi drug resistance case. Meaning the bacteria that were found in the spitting were resistant to our two main first line medication that is Isoniazid and Rifampin. This clearly shows that anybody with cough, fever or breathlessness could be having TB,” he added.

He also called on Members of Parliament and other stakeholders to join hands in the fight against tuberculosis in Ghana.

We don’t tackle TB only from the technical point of view, we need the political will. Members of Parliament should be part of this, we must sing the song. We have brought the evidence indicating that TB is real.

“When we are talking about TB and Covid suspect, you find TB even among Covid suspects therefore, the political will must come in.The stakeholders, civil society must come in and roll out with partners.” he stated.