Health experts push for attention to post-TB lung diseases

HEALTH researchers have expressed the need for making follow-ups on patients of Tuberculosis (TB) upon completing treatment to establish post-TB lung diseases.

The concern came in the wake of the study under the TB Sequel Project which was conducted for five (5) years in four (4) African countries, namely Tanzania, Mozambique, South Africa and the Gambia. The study was carried out from 2017-2022.

The study highlighted the effect of TB disease on patients´ health, not only during but also after completion of TB treatment, when clinical signs of post-TB Lung disease (PTLD) can be detected in many previous TB patients.

This study was conducted in collaboration with various institutions in Germany and African partners under funding support from the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and the Government of Tanzania.

The researchers made the call during the dissemination of the study report at the National Institute for Medical Research (NIMR) over the weekend.

The theme for the meeting to disseminate report was ‘Towards programmatic diagnosis and care for Post Tuberculosis Lung Disease.’

Among other post-TB morbidity, the study found out lung damages in former TB patients, diabetic issue, respiratory problem, lung function problem and chronic respiratory problems.

Presenting the report, TB Sequel coordinator, Dr Nyanda Ntinginya, argued that it was unfortunate that most of policies and researches focused on TB illness and treatment.

“More efforts have been only on killing the TB pathogens, but there is a number of morbidity in terms of lung diseases,” Dr Ntinginya stated.

Deputy Permanent Secretary for the ministry of health, Dr Seif Shekalaghe, challenged the researchers to align their studies to the policy and agenda of the country and ensure that they address current problems.

“Give us recommendations on a way forward in addressing post-TB diseases. You need to advise us on what needs to be included in policy. I assure you that the government will continue supporting researchers to strengthen their research in the country,” Dr Shekalaghe urged.

Positive advances have been made in Tanzania, resulting in a significant reduction of new TB cases.

Cases were reduced from 306 cases for every 100,000 persons in 2015 to 222 new cases for every 100,000 persons in the year 2020.

Despite this success, the country remains among the 30 high TB burden countries globally.

In 2020, 85,597 TB cases were notified, with more than 90 per cent reported as successfully treated.

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