TB - A Major Threat to Turkey’s Public Health

by Medindia Content Team on  January 9, 2008 at 4:28 PM Respiratory Disease News   - G J E 4
TB - A Major Threat to Turkey’s Public Health
Ali Riza Erdogan -- secretary-general of the Federation of National Associations of the Fight Against Tuberculosis, or TUVSDF recent said that tuberculosis is a treat to public health in Turkey inspite of the increasing number of intervention to fight the disease.

"Turkey has conducted a successful program to counter TB in the last few years, and the measures taken to control cases of TB have yielded positive results," Erdogan said, adding that TB is "still a threat to society" and that hundreds of people contract the disease annually. About 22,000 people in Turkey are living with TB -- more than 13,200 of whom are men and about 7,300 of whom are women -- Today's Zaman reports.

Erdogan said that data from the Ministry of Health do not show an increase in the number of people living with the disease. However, it is almost certain that TB could "become a great risk for society" if the country does not continue to "pursu[e] successful policies" to fight the disease, Erdogan said.

Ferit Kocoglu, chair of TUVSDF, said that health professionals and not-for-profit organizations work together to fight TB in the country and are able to treat about 88% of TB cases. He added that about 89% of people with TB are treated under the DOTS methods and that about 85% of those cases are treated successfully, which exceeds targets set by the World Health Organization.

Erdogan said there are several areas of TB control that need to be strengthened, Today's Zaman reports. "We believe that precautions taken for the control and prevention of TB will yield more effective results in the longer term" but that conditions in TB treatment facilities "should be improved," he said. Erdogan also said that the families of people who are being treated for TB should receive financial support during treatment.

People who have TB, especially men, often "refuse to be hospitalized because they fear that their families will have financial difficulties if they quit working," he said. Erdogan added that it is possible to reduce TB to its "lowest rate" by earmarking more funds for health services.

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation

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