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News  


 

2,000 TB patients in Colombo
By Rukshana Rizwie
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 Disease.
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 Tuberculosis Day.
“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.