The Aurum Institute Ghana, a not for profit organisation, on Monday presented six motorbikes to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and its implementing partners, the Afro Global Alliance and Ghana TB Voice Network.
The presentation was jointly done by Dr Nii Nortey Hanson-Nortey, the Country Director of the Aurum Institute, Ghana and Nana Ahunabobrim Prah Agyensaim VI, the Omanhene of the Assin Owienkyi Traditional Area, and National TB Ambassador.
Dr Hanson-Nortey explained that the support was to facilitate the implementation of a Tuberculosis (TB) case finding intervention project, which was currently ongoing in the Accra and Kumasi Metropolitan areas, to help increase national case finding.
He said each Metropolitan Health Directorate would be assigned three of the motorbikes to facilitate the collection of sputum samples from partner health facilities to designated laboratories for quick results, to ensure fast treatment of patients.
He said although the country was supposed to diagnose about 45,000 TB cases, it was currently doing only about 15,000, leaving a gap of about 30,000 missing cases, hence the need to work towards finding these people and provide them with the needed treatment to eradicate the disease.
Dr Hanson-Nortey said his outfit, which was also an affiliate of Aurum Institute NPC of South Africa, had been working with the Government of Ghana to improve the health of people and communities living in poverty, through innovation in global health research, systems and delivery towards the eradication of TB and HIV and was committed to the cause.
He further explained that the two cities were selected for the project primarily because of their high records of reported TB cases and malnutrition, due to factors such as the population density, high slum areas, and congestions among other things, which were all factors that resulted in the spread of the disease.“It is also because they have the highest aggregation of private sector health institutions for partnership to bring down TB”, he said.
So far 13,000 people had been screened since the intervention, of which 73 new TB cases were identified, he revealed.
That project uses community soccer galas to attract the people, who were then given education on the symptoms of TB and treatment available, and would soon engage community pharmacists in both cities in the “Know your Lung Status” campaign to create more awareness.Nana Ahunabobrim Prah Agyensaim VI, said testing and treatment for TB was free,and urged the public to take advantage and seek early treatment to prevent the needless deaths resulting from TB in Ghana.
He also complained about the high rate of stigmatisation which was hindering progress being made towards the eradication of the disease and urged the media to intensify public education and awareness creation and called for more private sector partnerships to achieve the desired outcomes in TB prevention.
Mr Kingsley Addo, a Representative from the Accra Metropolitan Health Directorate thanked the Aurum Institute for the initiative and support, attesting to the fact that there has been an improvement in the TB case findings in the Metropolis as a result of the intervention.