Message for World TB Day
- 11.00 GMT]
Tuberculosis once considered a terminal disease is no longer so; thanks to
modern medical science it is now preventable and curable. The social stigma
associated with this illness has also receded because of greater awareness.
This disease, which is most prevalent in developing countries, is gradually
being eradicated from our societies. Sri Lankaís Medical Authorities must
be commended for their untiring efforts over the years to contain the spread
of TB and to educate the public about the importance of seeking early
March 24 is World TB Day.This annual event commemorates the date in 1882
when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of the tuberculosis (TB)
bacillus. It is a good time to review all the good work done by our Health
Department. At present, TB patients in Sri Lanka receive free treatment and
regular follow up care. Patients in lower income groups are provided with
financial assistance by the Social Services Department. Because of these
control measures, there has been a remarkable drop in detected TB cases each
In Sri Lanka we follow a DOTS system of curing patients. DOTS stands for
Directly Observed Treatment Shortcourse. It ensures every patient who starts
the treatment continues with it, thus reducing the risk of the ailment
developing into Multidrug Resistant TB (MDR.TB), which is fatal. A
responsible health worker monitors each patient and ensures that he or she
takes the medicines as prescribed, everyday for six months.
World TB Day is not a celebration. We have no cause to applaud yet. In spite
of our scientific breakthroughs TB has been the greatest killer of humans
throughout history and sadly it still is prevalent. However we Sri Lankans
have every reason to be proud of our state Health Sector professionals.
Their commitment to the Tuberculosis programme has been laudable and I wish
them all success.
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
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Date: March 24, 2005 - 11.00 GMT