Increasing spread of new form of TB worrying – WHO


The World Health Organisation (WHO) says it is worried about the increasing rate at which a new form of Tuberculosis (TB) is spreading in Ghana.

Statistics from the National Tuberculosis Programme shows that 77 cases of Multi Resistant TB were recorded in 2016,  from the 60 recorded in 2015.

So far 12 have died while 51 are still being treated. Only 15 have been declared cured.

On the occasion of World TB Day today, Chairman for WHO’s Child Tuberculosis Task force, Dr Anthony Enimil told Joy News in an interview that Ghana is in a very dangerous situation with 640 new Multi Resistant TB cases each year.

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He said the new form instead of six, takes 20 months to treat including eight months of daily injections.

“The dangerous part is that if you don’t complete [the initial course], and you develop multi drug resistance and you’re coughing onto people, the TB strain is passed to other people.”

Dr Enimil said the treatment of TB can be difficult but taking the medication constantly and as prescribed can improve the situation.

“The problem we are having is that when you start the treatment within a month or two you feel well but the danger is that those who feel well stop the medication. It is not that the organisms are dead because, they are only dormant because it takes six months to kill them.

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“So you do two months and part of them are dead but others are alive, those who are alive after the two months are the dangerous ones, because when they come back and are well fortified. The drugs that you were using no longer works, causing the multi drug resistant TB.

He advised TB patients to stick to their medication routine because not taking them is dangerous and could put the lives of many in danger.

“If one person with this multi drug resistance sits in a public transport with you from Kumasi to Accra, the person is coughing in an air conditioned car, you are certain that you have not only paid for your transport but you have also had free bout of the baseline which is going to be with you for the rest of your life. If you are fortunate, but if you are unfortunate it can become a disease and fighting it can be very dangerous.”