‘President recognises health as central driver of economic growth’


According to the health minister, the National Tuberculosis Control Programme has made great strides in detecting and successfully treating the infectious cases of TB in the country.

“The number of new smear- positive TB cases diagnosed has increased from 1,306 cases in 2008 to 1,431 cases in 2013. Similarly, the treatment success rate of 88%, which exceeded the WHO target of at least 85%. The defaulter rate declined from 14% in 2005 to 2% in 2012,” Dr  Sey announced.

The world TB day is commemorated on 24th March, and provides an opportunity for people around the world to raise awareness about tuberculosis and global efforts being made to control and finally eliminate the disease as a public health problem, he said.


The theme for this year’s commemoration is: ‘Reach the Three Million, A TB test, Treatment and Cure for All.’ The minister said the theme “therefore seeks a global effort to find, treat and cure the three million… and accelerate progress towards zero TB deaths, infections and suffering and stigma.

“There has been major progress towards 2015 targets established within the MDG framework.  The TB incidence rate has been falling worldwide for about a decade, meaning that the MDG targets have been achieved globally. By 2013, the TB mortality rate has been reduced by 45% since 1990 and the target of a 50% reduction is within reach.”

Dr Sey said one of the most important indicators of global progress is an 87% treatment success rate in 2011, up from 69% in 2010 noting that these demonstrate huge improvement in the provision of high quality TB care in most countries.

For his part, Dr Macki Taal, the permanent secretary at the health ministry said: “The media has a key role to play in informing and educating the general public about disease prevention, especially TB and HIV/AIDS. Information is important in shaping people’s life and perception towards related diseases like the ones mentioned earlier. Therefore, media practitioners need to be more aggressive in educating, informing and sensitising the general public.”

Mr Adama Bah, the program manager at the National TB Control Programme said the goal of his unit is to reduce transmission, morbidity and mortality of TB so that it is no longer a public health problem in The Gambia.”


Author: Sainey Marenah