How to prevent Tuberculosis

In light of World TB Day, which was held op 24 March 2011, here is a few preventative steps in the fight against Tuberculosis. TB is transmitted by airborne bacteria. There are steps you can take to minimize your risk of getting the disease. Wash your hands frequently, especially when you have been around people with chronic coughs; wear a mask. A special, high-micro filtration mask will keep the TB bacilli from invading your respiratory system; have an annual TB skin test. These are available for minimal cost at most community clinics, and at health fairs offered at shopping malls and senior centres; have a chest X-ray if you are sensitive to the TB skin test. An X-ray can detect clinical signs of TB in your lungs; avoid standing too close to people when they are coughing. You can never know for sure if you are being exposed to TB, but if you stay away from the germs spewed about when people cough and sneeze, you will reduce your risk of becoming infected; breathe in lots of fresh air and eat a healthy diet, rich in vitamins, minerals, calcium, protein and fiber.

The World Health Organization’s Stop TB Strategy has brought major achievements, including impressive improvements in the way TB care is delivered. Over the past 15 years, well over 40 million people have received treatment in accordance with the Strategy. Prevalence and death rates continue to fall, demonstrating the power of international commitment to save lives.

This progress could be lost if we are not vigilant. Efforts to carry out the Strategy are severely underfunded, as is research to develop additional, badly needed tools. Without further improvements in TB prevention, early diagnosis and treatment, some 8 million people will die of TB between now and 2015. TB will also claim the lives of many people infected with HIV.

According to Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General TB care still fails to reach everyone in need. About one third of people with TB do not benefit from accurate diagnosis and appropriate care. Most of these nearly 3 million people are in vulnerable and marginalized groups, including slum dwellers, migrant workers and drug users.

“We need to reach them by teaming up with civil society, health workers and businesses. In the 21st century, no one should die from this curable disease.
Access to quality health care is a basic human right. On World TB Day, I call for action to carry out the Stop TB Strategy everywhere, for all those who need it. This will go a long way toward universal access to diagnosis and treatment, and that, in turn, will help rid the world of one of the biggest infectious killers facing humankind.” Says Ban Ki-moon.

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