The Ghana Health Service (GHS) says persons, battling Tuberculosis (TB) are at higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 disease.
According to GHS’ Deputy Programs Manager of the National TB Control Program, Dr. Rita Patricia Frimpong Amenyo, the two infectious disease affects the immune system and the lungs.
“Tuberculosis primarily affects the lungs although it can affect other parts of the body. Someone with TB is at higher risk of getting COVID-19 because the lungs that should help the person breathe well, are affected by TB organisms. Again the lungs are the same place that COVID is affecting. That is why those patients do not do well when they get COVID 19,” she explained
As the country progresses in vaccinating individuals classified under the first priority group, she urged Tuberculosis patients to continue to adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures and protocols.
Dr. Frimpong Amenyo reiterated that the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab does not prevent one from contracting the COVID-19 disease.
Further speaking, she noted that the Service is recovering from using the entire allocated funds to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ghana Health Service, we have strategies to ensure that our services are not affected so we still have our funds but in the initial stages of the pandemic, a lot of the funds that we have were redirected to support COVID. Now that we seem to have some level of stability, we still have the funds that we are using for our program’s activities,” Dr. Rita Patricia Frimpong Amenyo added.
World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is commemorated on March 24 every year in a bid to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.
The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.
TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers. Each day, nearly 4000 lose their lives to TB and close to 28,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease.
Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 63 million lives since the year 2000.
The theme of World TB Day 2021 is ‘The Clock is Ticking’. It conveys the sense that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments to end TB made by global leaders.
This is especially critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put End TB progress at risk, and to ensure equitable access to prevention and care in line with WHO’s drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.