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Health Personnel Trained On Tuberculosis Treatment 

By Coretta Penn Achu

Thirty health practitioners were July 21, trained on techniques of screening and fighting tuberculosis, TB, in the Centre de Formation Polyvalent de Mbouo, Bandjoun. Organised by the National Programme for the Fight against Tuberculosis, West Regional Unit, the seminar was also attended by stakeholders, journalists and civil society members. In his opening address, the West Regional Delegate for Health, Dr. Arouna, said the seminar was an avenue for them to brainstorm on ways of curbing the death rate related to the spread of tuberculosis.

The Chief of Unit in charge of Tuberculosis Programme in the West Region, Dr. Tsawo P. Castro, lectured on the essentials of TB, its risk factors, ways of prevention and treatment.
Talking about the community risk factors, Dr. Tsawo said they include the lack of information on the disease, late screening, increasing poverty and promiscuity. At the personal level, he said people living with HIV/AIDS, diabetes or those suffering from malnutrition stand a great chance of contracting TB if they loiter around or live among those already infected.

Dr. Tsawo cautioned individuals to seek medical help whenever one is suffering from a cough that has been on for three weeks, for they may be suffering from TB. Meanwhile, there exist two types of TB: pulmonary and extra-pulmonary tuberculosis. Tsawo further said that in Cameroon, TB screening and treatment cost 1000 FCFA, while the drugs are given for free.

There are five different TB drugs: Isoniazide (Z), Rifampicine (R), Pyrazinamide (Z), Streptomycin (S), and Ethambutol (E). The doctor said TB treatment is very efficient and easy to follow up. He urged the health workers to always make sure other patients in their health institutions are not infected by those already sick with TB, and recommended that halls harbouring tuberculosis patients should be far away from the others.

As for the patients, he prescribed the correct follow-up of their treatment as it has been proven that most sufferers who observe this golden rule can no longer infect others within two weeks or even two days of treatment. However, the treatments vary, depending on the severity of the case. There are equally two therapeutic schemes in Cameroon; someone who contracts the disease for the first time undergoes a six-month treatment, while an already sick and reinfected patient undergoes eight months of treatment.

In the second exposé, it was revealed that there are 20 screening and treatment centres in 12 health districts, notably in Bafoussam, Bandjoun, Baham, Bafang, Dschang, Mbouda, Foumbot, Kouoptamo, Bangourain, Foumban, Malantouen and Bagangte; with two more to be created by the end of this year in Batcham and at the Bafoussam Central Prison.

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