About 44,000 Tuberculosis (TB) affected people died in the country in 2021, speakers said based on a statistic from World Health Organization (WHO).
Besides, around 3.60 lakh people are affected by Tuberculosis (TB) in the country annually, they said this at a discussion titled ‘Advocacy Networking Meeting on TB and COVID-19’ in a hotel at Gulshan-2 in the capital on Monday.
However, it is not possible to identify 15% of those patients., Hence, they remain unidentified mainly due to a lack of awareness and social stigma, though there is an improved system of its treatment available in the country, they observed.
Organized by NariMaitree, a national development organization, Dr. Md. KhurshidAlam, Line Director of the National TB Control Programme, attended as the chief guest. Chaired by ShaheenAkter Dolly, Executive Director of NariMaitree, Brig Gen Md. Zubaidur Rahman, Chief Health Officer of Dhaka North City Corporation, Dr. Afzalur Rahman. Assistant Director of NTP, Dr. Shayla Islam, Head of the Communicable Disease programme of BRAC, among others, spoke at the event.
Daily a minimum 978 people are being affected by the disease on average. Of them, 16 are Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) patients, they said.
“To eliminate TB, it is needed to strengthen advocacy and coordination among all stakeholders, and increase funding by donors, and attach priority to the issue of treatment of TB”.
Over 50 representatives from various organizations attended the event.
Presenting the keynote paper, Masuda Begum, Director of Health and Nutrition Division of NariMaitree, termed TB as the health burden of Bangladesh. Citing statistics of WHO, she said Bangladesh is one of the 30 countries in the world where the disease is more prevalent.
The event was told that the Bangladesh government is working to formulate a five-year long (2021-2025) national plan of action for prevention of TB.
An open discussion was also held to inform, mobilize and coordinate TB communities for strategic engagement ahead of the United Nations High-Level Meeting (UNHLM) in 2023.
Dr. KhurshidAlam said, the National TB Control Programme is working to eradicate TB.
Stressing collaboration among all the stakeholders, he called for spreading the messages about the availability of free treatment and diagnosis of TB among people through advocacy programmes.
"We are hopeful that we would be able to root out the disease from Bangladesh soon with the combined efforts of all concerned, including the government", said ShaheenAkter Dolly, ED of NariMaitree.
She called on the government to contribute more financially to make the TB programme a success.
NariMaitree has been working with the government to end TB since 2004.