Ministry of Health steps up efforts to combat tuberculosis

ABU DHABI, The Ministry of Health and Prevention, MOHAP, organised an event in observation of World Tuberculosis Day, under the slogan “We need leaders to create a world free from tuberculosis.”

The event was held to create awareness about the seriousness of tuberculosis and identify its symptoms and ways of transmission. It aimed to highlight the ministry’s efforts in implementing the National Tuberculosis Control Programme by providing free healthcare to all TB patients, right from diagnosing the disease, through treatment and follow-up, to full recovery. Awareness and education efforts are part of the ministry’s ongoing, integrated year-long plan.

Hussein Abdel Rahman Rand, Assistant Under-Secretary for Health Clinics and Centres, said World TB Day is an opportunity to raise public awareness about the health, social and economic impact of the tuberculosis epidemic and to intensify efforts to end this global epidemic.

Marked on 24th March, the year’s theme is “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free World.”

He also referred to the ministry’s strategy to combat TB and its co-operation and co-ordination with the World Health Organisation, WHO, through the development of a health system to protect the UAE community from communicable diseases and to effectively reduce tuberculosis in the country.

Focussed activities to control the disease began over 40 years ago, with a view to reducing the number of infected persons, detecting the illness early, and increasing the survival rate.

Dr. Nada Al Marzouqi, Director of the Preventive Medicine Department, pointed out the participation of the UAE in the Eastern Mediterranean regional strategy from 2016 to 2020, to eradicate tuberculosis in the region. The ministry has implemented, in collaboration with the health authorities and its strategic partners, several preventive strategies and programmes to reduce and control the spread of the disease, such as standardisation of surveillance methods and treatment systems, provision of tuberculosis drugs on a regular basis, giving preventive vaccination to children at birth, and the programme of early TB testing as a medical check-up for job applicants in the country.

Dr. Fathila Mohammed Sharif, MOHAP’s Director of Health Education and Promotion Department, noted that the agenda as part of World TB Day until 31st March, 2018, includes community initiatives in commercial centres, preventive medicine centres and primary healthcare centres. Health workers participating in these events will answer the public’s queries about the disease and distribute information material.

She added that the activities also include a contest called “Light your house in Red.” The aim of this interactive competition is to display the community’s solidarity with TB patients and to garner support in the fight against the disease. Participants will have to upload a picture of their homes in Red, with the hashtag #International_Day_to_Combat_Tuberculosis, in addition to posting words of encouragement for people affected by the disease. These contestants will then be shortlisted and the first three winners will be announced for the best picture.

The National Programme for Tuberculosis Control, in co-operation with the Institute of Public Health at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at the UAE University, also held a technical symposium on Wednesday on the latest global developments in combating and controlling tuberculosis.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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