World Tuberculosis Day – 24 March, 2019
Doha 26 March, 2019: Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Communicable Disease Center (CDC) screened nearly 11,500 people for tuberculosis (TB) in 2018. In recognition of World Tuberculosis Day, observed on 24 March, the CDC’s Medical Director says the organization is continuing to work to educate the community about TB as part of ongoing efforts to eradicate the disease.
“The CDC is the region’s first hospital dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of infectious diseases and in 2018 we screened nearly 11,500 patients for TB who were referred from HMC facilities, primary care centers, the Medical Commission, private hospitals, and Qatar Red Crescent health centers,” said Dr. Muna Al Maslamani, Medical Director of the CDC.
“At the CDC, we have a highly specialized medical team that provides consultations and treatment for patients who either have TB or may have been exposed to the disease,” added
Dr. Al Maslamani.
In 2018 there were a total of 1,271 admissions to the CDC’s specialized TB wards – an increase of more than 70 percent from 2017. Dr. Al Maslamani said the increase in TB patients is a result of the country’s growing population and greater awareness about the condition.
“We continue to expand our services and to educate the community about TB and how it is transmitted,” said Dr. Al Maslamani. “The key to fighting the spread of TB is to remove the stigma attached to the disease through providing education and accurate information about how it can be acquired.”
“We have come a long way in terms of awareness and knowledge about TB but there is still much to be done to raise public awareness of TB, both in Qatar and internationally. The more we educate people about risk factors and prevention, the greater the chance we have to eliminate it,” said Dr. Al Maslamani.
Tuberculosis remains an epidemic in much of the world, causing nearly 1.7 million deaths each year, mostly in developing countries. The contagious infectious disease usually attacks the lungs but can also spread to other parts of the body, including the brain and spine. A type of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis causes the disease.
The disease is classified as latent TB or active TB, with signs and symptoms of active TB including a cough that lasts three or more weeks, coughing up blood, chest pain, unintentional weight loss, fatigue, and night sweats.
In recognition of World Tuberculosis Day clinicians from the CDC held an awareness campaign on the Corniche on Friday, 22 March, providing members of the public with information about TB and conducting basic health checks. This week awareness events were also held at Hamad General Hospital, the Communicable Disease Center, Heart Hospital, Al Wakra Hospital, Al Khor Hospital, the Women’s Wellness and Research Center, and Hazm Mebaireek General Hospital.