Lae health centre reveals fears of TB surge after election

Health Watch

By EHEYUC SESERU
THE centre of Mercy health centre in Lae, Morobe, has registered more than 1,500 active tuberculosis (TB) patients in the last five years.
Nursing Sister Knowledge Ndlovu said those active TB cases were on treatment, and feared there might be an increase after General Election 2022 (GE22).
“TB is an airborne disease,” she said.
“Where there is a crowd, there is actually higher chances of it spreading which can affect us in the near future.
“Not just TB alone but the Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases might also increase after GE22.
“TB infection is increasing in our community due to overcrowding, and also people travelling from all places into Lae.
“It is geographically a central location so transmission is very high currently.
“We’ve registered 391 active patients on treatment since January of this year alone.”
There were 340 confirmed TB patients registered in 2018, 350 in 2019 and more than 450 TB patients last year.
Ndlovu said that there was a decline in the number of cases reported in 2020 due to the Covid-19 restrictions and also the lockdown.
“There was still TB around but most health facilities were closed thus patients were not able to seek treatment,” she said.
“Also, travelling was restricted and most didn’t come.”
Ndlovu said they registered 15 to 20 TB patients in a week.
“The number is increasing and we also need more medication,” she said.
Medicines supply were always very limited.
There were times when patients went without medication for a week, months or could be longer.
We really need medicines on time so our patients remain on treatment.
“So we can prevent multi-drug resistances or drug resistances. Currently we have enough medicine stocks to last us for next four months,” Ndlovu said.
She also cautioned people to be careful to prevent themselves from getting TB.
“Wearing of face masks in public places can also prevent us from getting TB,” she said.
“There must be clear ventilation in all crowed areas.
“Those who are on medication must be very faithful in taking it.”

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