Mr. Kofi Amofa-Yeboah, Nkoranza South District Tuberculosis (TB) Control officer, says low case detection rate, high mortality rate, weak monitoring and low capacity to conduct effective surveillance in the communities are major challenges facing TB control in the district.
He advised pastors at the various prayer camps and healing centres, as well as fetish priests, herbalists and Mallams, to refer TB patients to the hospitals for attention.
Mr. Amofa-Yeboah was presenting a report on tuberculosis in the district at a mid-year review meeting of Nkoranza South District Directorate of Health Services at Nkoranza at the weekend.
He explained they could not get to the people at their door-steps as only 30 trained Community-Based Surveillance Volunteers (CBSU) were available to cover more than 200 communities in the district.
Because of the number of communities, the volunteers are unable to carry out effective monitoring on TB patients to enable them to report their cases for immediate attention and cure, the TB control officer added.
Mr Amofa-Yeboah noted that despite efforts being made to cure TB patients, the disease had been killing people in the district, saying four out of 24 patients they were taking care of had died within the past six months.
The District TB Control Officer deplored the practice and attitude of some pastors, fetish priests and herbalists “who accept TB patients at their places with a number of superstitious beliefs” and advised that patients be referred to the appropriate medical institutions.
He urged community members as well as family members of TB patients not to stigmatize them but rather encourage and support them to take their drugs.
Mr. Amofa-Yeboah announced that the District Directorate of Health Services would soon organise training programmes to train more CBSU so they could move to remote places in the district to report TB cases for the necessary attention.
He commended Global Fund, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), for its financial support towards the control of TB in the country.