T.B Day Tuberculosis has become "more expensive to detect" - Doctor warns

Dr Bonsu said the current tools, which is microscopy, used to diagnose the disease can no longer detect the kind of TB in the country.

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play Dr Bonsu said the current tools, which is microscopy, used to diagnose the disease can no longer detect the kind of TB in the country.
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The treatment of Tuberculosis (T.B) in Ghana has become more expensive to detect because the "nature of the epidemic has changed" and will require "newer diagnostic" tools, the National Programmes Manager of the National T.B Control programme, Dr Frank Bonsu, has said.

Dr Bonsu said the current tool, which is microscopy, used to diagnose the disease can no longer detect the kind of TB in the country.

Speaking in an interview on Radio Ghana, he said: "Just some three years ago, we were reporting around 16, 000.  The reason why we are no long reporting the high numbers is because the nature of the epidemic has changed. The current tools that we use to diagnose the disease can no longer detect the kind of TB we have.

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"Now we do have quite a number of people that have TB but you cannot use smear microscope to diagnose but you'll require a much newer technology to detect and so it has become more expensive to detect the TB.

"They miss quite a number. They detect what they can. The easy to detect ones. What we refer to as smear positive TB cases. That is the most infectious type of TB. That you can still use microscope to detect but we do have those type of TB that will be smear negative under microscope but if you culture, you can grow the bacteria gel. So we are taking about bacteriologically positive TB case you require a newer diagnostic equipment called the GeneExpert.

"And the coverage of the GeneExpert in the country is about 40 to 50 percent and that means if patients without that type of diagnostic imaging, material... will miss quite a number of phase."

According to him, the TB epidemic is no longer restricted to high risk population areas, but that it has spread across the country, increasing the chances of coming into contact with the disease.

"The situation and picture is quite different from the picture that we knew from two decades ago. Now the TB epidemic in Ghana is not restricted to high risks population but it is generalised, affecting every region, every district and every community," Dr Bonsu said.

"The Numbers as recorded gradually is going up but within the last three years, the numbers being recorded have stabilised to around 14,600 national wide. But that is not a call for celebration."

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He made the comments as Ghana joined the world to mark world T.B day.

Instituted by the UN, the day is to create awareness of a disease that kills an estimated 1.8 million people every year.

Data shows that six countries account for nearly two-thirds of TB cases: India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.

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