|2,000 TB patients in Colombo
At least 2,000 Tuberculosis patients are reported
from the Colombo district out of the 10,000 cases
reported islandwide annually, says the National
Programme for Tuberculosis control and Chest
Dr. Sunil de Alwis, Director of the Anti
Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases Campaign told The
Nation that Colombo district ranked highest in the
number of patients.
“The aim of the National Programme for Tuberculosis
Control and Chest Diseases is to find more patients
every year, because our target is to identify,
diagnose and ensure that patients receive the
necessary treatment as early as possible,” he said.
“The disease is curable, but since its symptoms are
similar to that of other pulmonary conditions, it
can go unnoticed,” he added.
Of the 2,000 patients reported from the Colombo,
1,000 are from the municipal area while the others
are from Wattala, Mabole, Kolonnawa and Moratuwa
which are reported as most vulnerable areas.
A national awareness campaign and programme was
launched earlier this week to mark the World
“The disease is caused by several reasons ranging
from social determinance to nutrition, behavioral
patterns, alcohol and drug abuse, as well as living
conditions,” said Dr. De Alwis.
“Almost all of us are living with the mycobacterium
that causes TB, but it’s only when the immunity of
the person goes down that it is activated and
presents a range of symptoms,” he said and added
that since TB was a respiratory disease, a cough
that lasts more than two weeks is considered a TB
suspect. Other factors such as loss of weight, mild
temperature in the evening, chest pain and loss of
appetite are all signs of TB, he said.
According to him, men in the age of 45 to 55 are
considered more vulnerable, whereas it’s relatively
low in women, but those who have it are usually in
their early 20s, he pointed out.
“One needs to know that TB is completely curable and
a treatment of six months is what the patient would
have to go through, unless they have defaulted on
their treatment or have contracted TB for the second
time, which is when they would need a treatment of
up to eight months,” he said.
He said that all hospitals were equipped with
necessary medications and requested those affected
to seek treatment and for the society to avoid
stigmatizing patients with TB.