Private doctors who treat people living with tuberculosis should report such cases to the Bahamas' Department of Public Health so that the country can better control the disease, Chief Medical Officer Merceline Dahl-Regis said on Tuesday at the opening of a three-day TB workshop, the Nassau Guardian reports.
"We must prevent and control TB," Dahl-Regis said, adding, "Legislation requires that TB be managed in the public sector by the surveillance team in the Department of Public Health." According to Dahl-Regis, private practitioners who treat TB should report cases of the disease so treatment can conform to "standard protocols approved by the international community."
The workshop aims to increase awareness about TB control, according to Dahl-Regis. Medical workers from Princess Margaret Hospital and Doctors Hospital in the Bahamas, as well as health workers from throughout the Caribbean, are participating in the workshop. Denise Clarke, a senior medical technologist at Caribbean Epidemiology Center in Trinidad and Tobago, said the workshop is important because of the increase in cases of HIV/TB coinfection.
Acting Director of Nursing Marcel Johnson said the Bahamas has made much progress in terms of TB control. "Many early TB cases ended in death, but that is not the case today," Johnson said, adding, "This is due to the commitment of the physicians in treating persons with TB."
The Bahamas recorded 62 cases of TB last year, and the number of TB cases increased from 40 to 47 between 2001 and 2005, the Guardian reports. There were 82 reported cases of TB in 1997 -- the highest number recorded since surveillance began -- according to the Guardian.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation