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Officials wary of sudden surge in TB JAKARTA - Health officials are wary of the possibility of a sudden surge in tuberculosis infection due to the high number of internally displaced people spread across the country. "Fifty percent of the world's refugees have been infected by tuberculosis (TB) and every year there are an average of 17,000 refugees hit by the illness," Director General for Communicable Diseases Umar Fahmi told media in a briefing on World TB Day on Friday.
There are an estimated 1.1 million refugees across the country. Chairman of the Indonesian Lung Doctors Association (PDPI) and the chief of World TB Day Committee in Indonesia Tjandra Yoga Aditama, further said each TB patient can transmit the illness to 10 to 15 other people. "If in a refugee camp there is no adequate medicine...then the possibility of the disease spreading will be around 15 times higher," Tjandra said.
Tjandra further said that TB usually follows refugee-type illnesses such as diarrhea and colds since the TB bacteria assaults people with a low body immunity. TB remains a major killer in Indonesia as it has ranked third in recent years in the mortality list, following cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, and ahead of infections/parasites and diarrhea. Sudiono of the Indonesia Association Against Tuberculosis (PPTI) said that there are some 23,000 trained TB paramedics available nationwide.
"We have a total of 11 clinics for TB nationwide, including two in Jakarta. "In Jakarta alone, from January 1998 to December 2000 there were 10,757 TB patients. Around 85 percent of the patients could be cured, while some 2.1 percent died due to late treatment and 2.6 percent were those who neglected treatment," Sudiono explained. Data from the Indonesian Stop TB Initiative (Gerdunas TB) said Indonesia registered the third greatest number of TB cases in the world after India and China.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) there are an estimated 583,000 new TB cases in Indonesia annually. Each year the disease is estimated to kill 140,000 people. Separately, Minister of Health and Social Welfare Achmad Sujudi said the government is committed to reducing the prevalence of TB by 50 percent in the next five years with an integrated anti-TB program.
On Friday the minister handed out awards for students in the anti-tobacco poster campaign. "Smokers are prone to catch tuberculosis. Therefore we hope this integrated campaign will effectively reduce the number of both smokers and TB patients," Sujudi said. The winners in the Friday anti-tobacco poster competition were (in the Junior High School category): Mariana Jessica of Santa Ursula, Ryan Ricardo of Canisius and Caroline of Tarsisius I, all in Jakarta, while in the Senior High School category the winners were Titah Widiyoko of BK3 in Boyolali, Central Java, Indri Vini Natalia of Fons Vitae in East Jakarta and Hilmy Sukma Aditya of Kristen Samaria Kudus in West Jakarta.



Posted in Health @ 25 March 2001 00:01 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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