BY BARNABAS MANEBONA
SOLOMON Islands has reached the WHO Western Pacific Region’s goal to reduce by half the morbidity and mortality from all forms of TB by 2015, relative to 2000 levels.
Despite the huge achievement, Undersecretary for Health Improvement under the Ministry of Health and Medical Services (MHMS) Dr Nemia Bainivalu said more efforts are still needed to sustain and increase the gains as the disease still represents a public health problem in the country.
“In this respect, MHMS has already undertaken a strategic prioritisation of high impact interventions aimed at addressing the remaining challenges in the framework of a country dialogue which led to the planning of high impact activities focusing on high burden geographic locations and key populations affected by the disease,” said Mr Bainivalu.
“These interventions have been included in the TB National Strategic Plan 2018-80, which was developed in 2017.
“The immediate purpose of the interventions is to ensure universal access to TB care and prevention through improving institutional and human capacity within the health system, empowerment and involvement of communities with meaningful patient support, collaborative activities with other disease programmes including child and mother health, and engagement of all health care providers beyond the TB programme and the public sector.
“Our ultimate goal is to speed up the current decline of the burden of the disease so as to reach the internationally agreed targets in the framework of the END TB Strategy and the Development Goals.”
MHMS celebrated World Tuberculosis (TB) Day yesterday at the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation (SIBC) Leaf Hut, which is annually marked on March 24.
The Theme for World TB Day celebrated was “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world”.
World Health Organisation’s (WHO) representative Mr Dilip Hensman during the celebration added that ending TB will only be achieved with greater collaboration within and across governments, partners from Civil Society, communities, researchers, the private sector and development agencies.
“This means taking a whole of-society and multidisciplinary approach in the context of universal health coverage,” said Mr Hensman.
TB Advocator Mr Ben Gwali under the TB programme of the country took the opportunity yesterday to thank the government, Provincial Directors, TB Coordinators, Health Promotion Department, Technical agencies especially WHO and donors partners –Global Fund for assisting and supporting the programme in their efforts to control TB.