Feb 06, 2019 News
The Programme Coordinator of the National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP), Dr. Jeetendra Mohanlall, has indicated that there has been a significant decrease in Tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis in prisons.
The programme was put together to work at reducing the incidence and prevalence of tuberculosis and to mitigate its impact through a multi-sectored response that provides high quality and equitable prevention, treatment and support services.
The government has been tackling the high number of TB cases recorded in the local prisons for years and since 2012, there has been a significant reduction in the cases detected.
According to the doctor in an interview with the media the reduction is a result of robust and effective screening efforts that have been implemented in the prison system. This is being done in collaboration with the prison authority and support from the Ministry of Public Health.
Dr. Mohanlall stated, “We have had a DOTS (Direct Observed Treatment Short-course) Supervisor in the prisons since 2012, and so, we have been doing a lot of work since then in terms of screening cell by cell, block by block.”
He added, “In 2012, we had 43 new cases in the prisons. Over the years because of continuous screening and preventative therapy, last year we have only had eight new cases in all the prisons.” The eight cases are the lowest recording in the past 19 years.
The doctor said that there are some challenges that the programme faces. However, he noted that the low numbers speak for itself which indicates that eradicating TB in prisons is possible.
He extended gratitude to the health teams at the various prisons who facilitate and conduct actual TB clinics, collecting samples and providing continuous treatment. Meanwhile, the TB team from the unit at Georgetown Public Hospital regularly visits these prisons to perform follow-up checks on patients, especially new cases.
The most common type of TB detected in the prisons is Drug-Sensitive TB. This type of Tuberculosis can be cured within six months as long as a patient adheres to treatment.
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