Each year, the World Tuberculosis Day is commemorated on March 24th in order to raise public awareness of the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis and to increase efforts to end the global tuberculosis epidemic (TB).
The date March 24 marks the day in 1882, when Dr. Robert Koch announced he had discovered the tuberculosis-causing bacterium that paved the way for diagnosing and treating this disease. Despite significant progress, over the last decades, TB continues to be one of the leading causes of death among infectious diseases, with some 4500 deaths per day.
The Global End-of-TB Plan provides a roadmap for combating TB for a five-year period. The partnership is launching a new global plan for ending TB 2016-2020. The plan will calculate global end-of-TB efforts, which are expected to become significantly more ambitious and effective over the next five years, drastically changing the way TB programs will be implemented. It will emphasize what is needed to set the world on the right path, achieving the goals of the Global Strategy for Tuberculosis after 2015.
This year’s World Tuberculosis Day is celebrated under the motto: Looking for: leaders for a free world, a world without tuberculosis!
This year, the focus is on putting an end to TB, not only at the political level, with heads of state, ministers of health, but also at the local level with mayors, community leaders, people with TB, representatives of the civil society, non-governmental organizations , health workers, doctors and nurses and other partners. All can be leaders, make an effort to end tuberculosis at their workplace or on the field.
I’m a doctor, I’m trying to put an end to TB, join me!
World Tuberculosis Day gives the opportunity to be in the spotlight and mobilize political and social structures in order to end TB.
Last year, the World Health Organization reported that 10.4 million people are suffering from tuberculosis and that in 2016 there were 1.7 million deaths (including 0.4 million people with HIV) making it the world’s largest infectious killer. More than 95% of TB deaths are in low- and middle-income countries.
This disease is deeply rooted in populations where human rights and dignity are limited. Anyone can come into contact with TB, the disease progresses in people living in poverty, communities and groups that are marginalized, migrants and other vulnerable categories.
Situation in the Republic of Macedonia
In 2013 in the Republic of Macedonia is registered prevalence of active TB from 20.8 per 100 000 inhabitants or 428 cases. In 2017 in the Republic of Macedonia is registered prevalence of active TB from 11,5 per 100 000 inhabitants, or 238 cases. These numbers are lower than the prevalence in 2010, amounting to 29.8 patients per 100 000 inhabitants. Continuously, there has been consistently reduced the total number of patients with tuberculosis for the analyzed period 2010-2017, and the rate of prevalence shows a decreasing trend. (Chart 1)
In 2017 in the Republic of Macedonia is registered the incidence of active tuberculosis from 10,6 per 100 000 inhabitants or 220 newly infected cases, while in 2013 the incidence was 15.7 per 100 000 inhabitants or 323 newly infected with TB. In the analysed period from 2010-2017, the rate of incidence, as well as the prevalence rate shows a downward trend. Macedonia is among the countries with a low incidence in the European region. (Chart 2)
Measures to improve the situation
All forms of TB are treated if diagnosed and treated on time. Treatment involves taking a combination of drugs for six to nine months because some tuberculosis bacteria are naturally resistant to one or more of the drugs that are prescribed.
In order to advance the control and treatment of tuberculosis in the country, reducing the risk of spreading the infection, especially those caused by resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, prevention of tuberculosis co-infection and HIV infection, it is necessary to take all available preventive measures that contribute to early detection and prevention of disease.
Active case finding of tuberculosis risk groups with selective radiophotography. Risk groups which include: patients in psychiatric hospitals, prisoners in the penitentiary in the country, internally displaced persons, drug addicts etc. In order for early detection of patients with tuberculosis and other non-specific lung diseases is used radiographic recording for persons who are at greater risk of suffering from tuberculosis.
- DOT Activities – It means direct control of the treatment and monitoring of patients with tuberculosis, and health education through conversation with patients and their families.
Preventing the spread of TB is possible by treating new cases of tuberculosis according to standard modes of treatment recommended by the World Health Organization.
- A significant contribution to the promotion of care and treatment of vulnerable categories such as persons with Hepatitis C or persons with HIV / AIDS, as well as advanced conditions for timely diagnosis and early treatment are measures and activities that severely reduce the possibility of further transmission of the HIV virus.
- Keeping a healthy lifestyle is one of the measures that reduces the risk of TB. People in poor health are at greater risk because their resistance to disease is lower than in healthy people. It is therefore important to consume healthy food, which includes many vegetables and fruits, low-fat meat, avoiding processed foods and sugars.
Physical activity is of great importance, practicing at least 3 to 4 times a week. Involving cardio exercises, such as swimming, running or rowing. Avoiding bad habits such as: alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Maintain personal hygiene, and most importantly, spend as much time as possible on clean fresh air, mountain, etc.
The best preventive measure is proper and timely treatment of every case of tuberculosis which interrupts the chain of infection spreading.