Ministry to curb number of TB cases every year

Ministry to curb number of TB cases every year

Ministry to curb number of TB cases every year

The Public Health Ministry aims to reduce the number of tuberculosis (TB) patients by 5% every year.

Dr Cherdchai Tontisirin, assistant to the public health minister; Dr Niti Haetanurak, Department of Disease Control deputy director-general; and Dr Jos Vandelaer, World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Thailand, spoke to the media on Friday about a campaign to end TB to mark this year’s World TB Day, which falls today.

Dr Niti said the slogan for this year’s campaign is “Yes! We Can End TB”, adding that tuberculosis is still the world’s most fatal disease.

It causes 4,000 deaths and 30,000 new cases each day worldwide. TB is the second leading infectious killer after Covid-19, he said.

According to the WHO, there were approximately 10.6 million TB cases, 1.3 million deaths caused by TB and one-fourth of the world population were suffering from latent TB infection in 2022.

As for Thailand, Dr Niti said the WHO estimated last year that there were 111,000 new cases and 12,000 deaths per year in the country, which is an improving trend though still of concern.

He said the authorities have been able to provide treatment to 78,000 patients, which means there are about 30,000 patients left to be treated.

Dr Niti said the number of TB patients in Thailand has fallen, citing the fall in TB incidence per 100,000 people from 241 cases in 2000 to 143 cases in 2021.

He said the authorities are aiming to reduce the number of new cases by 5% per year to bring TB patients down to 80 cases per 100,000 people by 2035.

They will reach out to seven risk groups: those in contact with patients, convicts, health care personnel, those with poor immune systems, diabetic patients, those aged over 65 and alien labourers to give them TB treatment, said Dr Niti.

Dr Cherdchai also unveiled the Public Health Ministry’s End TB Strategy, which is expected to reduce the numbers of deaths and new cases by 95% and 90% respectively by 2035.

Meanwhile, the National Health Security Office has approved the Tuberculosis Division’s proposal in principle to allow the purchasing of the WHO’s antitubercular medication produced using a new formula.

The newly developed medication is able to cure TB patients with no drug resistance within six months in comparison with the previous medication which might require up to 11 months of consumption.