Working Together to End Tuberculosis in Nepal: Reflections on World TB Day
24 March 2023
World Tuberculosis Day is observed annually on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social, and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. This day is a reminder of the urgent need to intensify actions to end TB, a preventable and curable disease that still claims millions of lives each year.
In Nepal, TB is a significant public health problem, with an estimated 42,000 cases reported in 2020. Despite progress in recent years, the country is still ranked among the 30 highest TB burden countries in the world, with a high incidence rate of 137 cases per 100,000 people and a mortality rate of 31 deaths per 100,000 people. The disease is more prevalent in men and older populations, as well as in hilly and Terai regions as opposed to mountainous regions and Kathmandu, according to The National Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey (TBPS) 2018-19.
This year’s theme, “Yes! We can end TB!”, is a reminder of our shared responsibility to eliminate TB. We must take action to end TB by ensuring universal access to quality TB diagnosis, treatment, care, and support. One of the ways to improve access to TB diagnosis, treatment, support, contact tracing, and community outreach is through Ringaze. It is a powerful tool that can help us reach out to remote areas and populations to provide the necessary services and support. Together, we can work towards a future where TB is no longer a threat to public health.
It is also crucial to address the social determinants of health and reduce the stigma associated with TB to reduce the burden of the disease in Nepal. The stigma attached to TB can lead to delayed diagnosis, poor treatment adherence, and increased transmission. We need to continue to promote awareness and understanding of TB to encourage early diagnosis, treatment adherence, and improved outcomes. This can be achieved through education and awareness-raising campaigns, community engagement, and the involvement of TB survivors and advocates.
On this World TB Day, let us pledge to work together towards a TB-free Nepal. Let us strive for a future where TB is no longer a public health threat and where every person has access to quality TB care and support. It is only through concerted efforts and collective action that we can end TB, save lives, and build a healthier and more prosperous future for all.
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