As the world unites to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, Brunei Darussalam must maintain the continuity of essential services to those who are infected with tuberculosis or TB during the pandemic. In this regard, it is important that the achieved progress in TB prevention and care is not disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeking and treating TB patients are the main pillars of prevention and care which require continuous attention.
The Minister of Health underlined the matter in a message in conjunction with World TB Day that is celebrated on every 24th of March. According to Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Doctor Haji Awang Md Isham bin Haji Jaafar, the rate of TB cases in the country increase from 53 cases for every 100 thousand people in 2019 to 68 cases for every 100 thousand people in 2020. Among the contributing factors is the increased surveillance for detecting patient, which at the same time prevents transmission, morbidity and death.
The Minister of Health explained that the increasing life expectancy also contributed to the increasing number of cases, as well as the link between non-communicable diseases and TB due to low immune system among patients with non-communicable diseases. Brunei Darussalam is very fortunate as the rate of multi-drug resistant TB and extensively drug-resistant TB as well as cases of TB-HIV patients in the country are very low. These are the two major challenges that the world is facing today. In this regard, the Ministry of Health will continue to be proactive to ensure the said challenges are always under control, and focus on strategies and actions to control TB in the country.
The World TB Day is celebrated to raise awareness that TB can still be detected in many countries. With the theme 'The Clock is Ticking', it reminds all parties on the commitment and spirit towards facilitating TB prevention and control actions, as the world is running out of time to act on the commitments to end TB made by global leaders.
Source: Radio Television Brunei