Brunei needs to step up efforts to fight tuberculosis: minister

Source: Xinhua| 2019-03-24 21:19:54|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Brunei needs to double efforts to battle Tuberculosis (TB) despite decreasing cases in recent years, the country's health minister said on the World Tuberculosis Day which falls on Sunday.

A report from local daily Borneo Bulletin quoted Minister of Health Hj Mohd Isham as saying that while there has been a reduction in the number of TB cases recorded in the sultanate, "the rate of decline is very low in recent years."

"It is time to improve access to prevention and treatment of TB, improve accountability, ensuring adequate and sustained funding is included for research, preventing stigma and discrimination against the disease and promoting fair actions on TB based on the right-based and people-centered TB responses," the Bulletin quoted him as saying.

The Bulletin reported that TB cases in the sultanate have gone down from 96 per 100,000 people in 2000 to 59 cases per 100,000 in 2018. It added that 249 new cases of TB were recorded in 2018 compared to 311 cases in 2000.

Minister Isham said two major challenges currently facing the world in relation to TB are multi-drug resistant TB and extensively drug-resistant TB, as well as TB infection cases among HIV patients.

"Brunei Darussalam is very fortunate that the rate of cases of TB and HIV-TB infection in this country is very low," he was quoted as saying.

World Tuberculosis Day is observed annually on March 24 to raise public awareness about the health, social and economic consequences of the epidemic.