While efforts to combat tuberculosis are underway, there are now concerns about drug-resistant cases.
According to Acting National TB Control Officer Dr Emosi Bayanivalu, there is a need to work together to combat tuberculosis cases and drug-resistant cases.
Dr. Bayanivalu says drug-resistant cases have increased following the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Usually in 2016, 2019 we only had one of two in a year, but in 2020 we didn’t have any cases, and in 2021, surprisingly after COVID, we had roughly four cases, and last year, 2022, we had five, so a total of nine within two years, and now in 2023, it’s just March, we have three confirmed cases already, so meaning these are cases that are resistant to isoniazid and rifampin, which are TB drugs”.
Dr. Bayanivalu says these cases are concerning.
“It is a concern because drug-resistant TB has a high mortality rate, meaning that the complications tend to develop further because we don’t have the simple drugs that could counter it.”
Dr. Bayanivalu says in the first three months of this year, 100 confirmed TB cases have already been registered at Twomey Hospital.
He adds that approximately 300 people identified last year are still on medication.