On March 24, 2021, the Ministry of Health and Wellness commemorated World Tuberculosis (TB) Day under the theme, “The Clock is Ticking.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 63 million lives since the year 2000. The theme highlights that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments, made by global leaders, to end TB. This is especially critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put End TB progress at risk, threatening equitable access to prevention and care in line with WHO’s drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage.
In 2020, Belize recorded 72 new cases of Tuberculosis, of these four were Extra-Pulmonary Tuberculosis (TB involving organs other than the lungs). Of that 72, 24 were females and 48 were males. The districts most affected are Belize, Cayo and Stann Creek. The age groups most affected were between the ages of 15 to 54 years of age, following the same trend as seen in previous years.
The National TB Program of the Ministry of Health and Wellness continues to engage in the following activities as part of a TB reduction strategy:
• High-quality DOTS (directly observed treatment strategy) expansion
• Improving methods for early case detection and diagnosis through quality-assured bacteriology in the districts
• Providing standardized treatment with supervision
• Ensuring effective drug supply and management at all levels
• Engaging all care providers with continuous training and re-training
• Consistent monitoring and evaluation of activities to improve case finding and adherence to treatment
• Educational activities when possible to increase awareness
These initiatives will continue to be supported during these difficult times of the pandemic amidst economic recovery.
In commemoration of World TB Day, the media and public are encouraged to visit the Chest Clinic in Belize City today for an Appreciation Day activity.
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