Tuesday 14 July 2020

Tuberculosis causes dramatic weight loss and was historically
known as “consumption”

Bahrain urged to rethink TB policy

MANAMA, June 4, 2015

Bahrain’s national policy on tuberculosis elimination is outdated and needs to be revised, a visiting team of international health experts has warned.

Highly infectious and often fatal, tuberculosis - or TB - is spread through the air when sufferers cough and sneeze, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.

Symptoms of the disease include a chronic cough with blood-tinged sputum, fever, night sweats and weight loss.

Bahrain's current policy on TB elimination, which includes deporting infected expatriates, was last revised in 2003.

Now, a visiting three-member team from the World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling for this policy to be revisited.

It comes in line with WHO guidance for Bahrain to reduce its rate of TB infection to less than one per 100,000 people by 2035.

“At present, there are 18 TB patients for every 100,000 people in Bahrain,” Health Ministry's National Committee for Combating Tuberculosis chairman Dr Ibrahim Al Rumaihi told the GDN.

“Experts from the WHO team, who are in Bahrain at the official invite of Health Minister Sadiq Al Shehabi, have recommended an immediate revision of national policy with regard to the tuberculosis elimination programme.”

The team, which consists of WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office medical officer Dr Samiha Baghdadi, Pakistan National TB Control Programme reference laboratory head Dr Sabira Tahseen and Dr Khaled Sultan, has been in Bahrain since May 31.

They have been unavailable for interview, but are expected to submit an initial report to the Health Ministry before their departure today followed by a more detailed report within a month.

“The team was here at our behest to revise the existing structure and programme of our TB elimination programme,” said Dr Al Rumaihi.

“Their recommendations are in line with our aim of eradicating the disease in the country.

“During their visit, they inspected the country's infrastructure, which includes all TB facilities in major hospitals and health centres.

“They also assessed the readiness of our medical personnel to attend to the disease and have put forward relevant recommendations to strengthen our database, apart from those that are helpful on updating the policies.

“The existing policy was last updated in 2003 and the new committee in office from April this year will work on the revisal of the policy.”

However, Dr Al Rumaihi said that the WHO team had lauded Bahrain's 'advanced infrastructure' and praised the clinical knowledge of the medical personnel involved in the TB elimination programme. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Bahrain | TB | policy | revise |

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