Minister of Health Dr Leslie Ramsammy said the country has experienced a gradual decline in the incidence of tuberculosis, but he believes progress has been slow and that not enough is being done to educate people.
Tuberculosis (TB) is considered a serious public health challenge and last year some 629 persons joined the local treatment programme. The incidence rate is currently 83 per 100,000 and statistics show that about 60 persons died each year from TB, but many were also HIV positive.
Ramsammy, in a message to mark World TB Day on Sunday, underscored the challenges of co-infection in the health sector saying they are working to lower the rate of TB patients living with HIV to around 12 percent because as of 2009, some 23 percent of TB patients were listed as HIV positive. “Because these two diseases combined to be a serious killer, we need to ensure we protect persons living with HIV from TB and also protect persons infected with TB from HIV”, Ramsammy said.