By DAINESS SIKAMWAYA
TUBERCULOSIS (TB) is a disease caused by a germ called mycobacterium tuberculosis, usually affecting the lungs and other parts of the human body.
Currently TB is one of the major causes of ill-health and death in Zambia and doctors have started expressing concerned that there is an emerging threat of TB drug resistance in most patients.
The move has since prompted government with some cooperating partners to construct a drug resistant TB ward at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) where to be confine such patients for closer monitoring from specialized health personnel.
According to records, it’s estimated that every year 62 000 fall ill due to TB and it is also estimated that about 17 000 die of TB every year.
The tuberculosis statistics in Zambia further shows that about 47 people are everyday dying from the same disease.
According to ministry of health about 23,000 of TB patients remain undetected due to failure to go for screening services and others deliberately just ignoring their persistent coughs.
However, the undetected patients live around community members and continue to infect others, nevertheless progress has been recorded in the fight against TB as 88 percent patients are now being treated and cured. It is a known fact that TB can affect anyone and does not mean the person who is infected with TB is automatically HIV positive.
It’s important to note that the age groups that are heavily affected by TB is between 25-44 years and that people at risk are children, elderly People Living with HIV, prisoners, miners and ex-miners, and other close contacts of TB patients.
However, in some African traditions and cultures are a lot of myths associated with the contracting of TB and they make most people ignoring the actual causes of the disease.
Some of these myths are that someone can contract TB after eating relish being cooked and put salt by a woman who is on her monthly period, a woman who has aborted can cause TB if she cooks for others, one can get TB by having sex with a woman who has aborted and that TB is not curable.
The facts are that TB is spread by breathing in, air infected with a TB germ and that all forms of TB are curable.