Bhutan joined the Regional and International Community in observing the World TB Day on 24th March, 2018. The day was observed in College of Science and Technology with a theme “Wanted: Leaders for a TB free World”.
The day was graced by Honorable Secretary, Dr. Ugen Dophu, Secretary, Ministry of Health. The other invitees and guests present during the event were Dr.Lobzang Dorji from WHO CO, Dr.Karma Lhazeen, Director, Department of Public Health, Regional and sector heads of Phuntsholing Dungkhag administration, Business Communities, VHWs, President, faculties and students of CST college, officials from Ministry and the public gathered on the day.
During the very important day, the media Statement released by the WHO SEARO for the World TB day has been read out to the gathering. Following that, the Chief Guest, Dasho Secretary addressed his speech highlighting the global, regional and national scenario of TB which is the one of the public health concern affecting the productive age groups of 15-49 years. He stressed on the importance of early diagnosis and treatment under DOT which ensures cure, prevents death and transmission. He informed that anyone with cough for more than two weeks to be encouraged for advice and referral to the health facility.
The updated guideline of Programmatic Management of Drug Resistant TB with the inclusion of shorter MDR-TB treatment was launched by the Honorable Secretary.
One cured TB patient shared his views and experiences when he was on TB treatment including the problems he faced and support he received from his family members, friends and health care workers. Quiz competition was also held during the event with the contestants from different backgrounds. In a team, there were mixture of participants from various backgrounds with each team comprising of five members. Three rounds of quiz questions on TB and MDR-TB were asked to the groups and marks were given to the correct answers. The winner, runner up and the contestants of the quiz were all awarded with the prizes.
A short animation video was showcased to the gathering about the TB disease and treatment. Followed by this, the first ever song on TB disease was launched during the event and was performed by the students of CST College.
Lastly, the Director, Department of Public Health delivered vote of thanks to the Chief Guest and all the invitees and guests. Specially thanking to Phuntsholing Dungkhag administration, district health sector, President, faculties and students of CST College for their support and active participation without which this event wouldn’t have been successful.
The World TB Day is observed on 24th of March every year with the aim to create awareness, inform and educate general public on Tuberculosis (TB). TB remains to be one of the major public health problems globally, regionally and nationally. In 2017, TB was reported to be one of the top 9 causes of death worldwide and leading cause of death from single infectious agent.
According to the Global TB report (2017), about 10.4 million people fell ill with TB globally in 2016 of which about 45% of the cases occurred with WHO South East Asia Region. Further, about 0.6 million cases of Multi-Drug Resistance TB (MDR/RR-TB) were reported globally. Similarly, in 2016 there were an estimated 1.3 million TB deaths among HIV negative people and additional 374,000 deaths among HIV positive people.