Public Health aims to eliminate tuberculosis in the country by 2025
Dr. Eladio Pérez led the event for Tuberculosis Day. ( CLAUDIA FERNANDEZ )
The strategy seeks to reduce the contagion and lethality indicators of the disease.
In 2021, more than three thousand cases were detected in the Dominican Republic.
On the occasion of commemorating World Tuberculosis Day, the Ministry of Public Health named this Thursday as a priority the control and prevention of this disease with the slogan “Let’s invest in ending tuberculosis , save lives.”
The Deputy Minister of Collective Health, Eladio Pérez, announced the three pillars that make up the strategy to end tuberculosis in the country, an infectious disease that in 2020 caused 335 deaths in the Dominican Republic.
“We have as a goal that by 2025 we will eliminate this disease from the Dominican Republic, an ambitious goal but one that we can say is considerably feasible,” said Pérez.
According to Pérez, “the main strategy to end tuberculosis is to cut the chain of transmission, so we must find all cases and cure them. The main goals are to detect and cure 90% of cases, and if we achieve this, we will be advancing a point of view that surely by 2025, or rather, by 2030, we will be able to eliminate this disease in the Dominican Republic.”
This strategy is based on three pillars that have been considered from the international point of view: integrated care and prevention in the patient, bold policies and support systems, and the intensification of information.
In that sense, Pérez explained that treatment for people with tuberculosis is free thanks to the funds allocated by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which allows the Ministry of Health and the National Health Service (SNS) to guarantee the financing of more than 95% of the resources necessary to respond to this disease, that is preventable and curable.
“The strategy of ending tuberculosis by 2025 aims to reduce deaths caused by this disease by 75 percent, achieve a 50% reduction in the incidence rate of 55 cases per 100 inhabitants and eliminate catastrophic expenses in affected families,” added Pérez.
For her part, the coordinator of the Tuberculosis Division, Melania Encarnación, said that the Ministry of Health, as the governing body of the health system, guarantees adequate and timely diagnosis and treatment to patients with this health condition.
He pointed out that last year in the country, 3,499 cases of tuberculosis were recognized, of which 24% were registered in people living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), 12% in people deprived of liberty, 10% in Haitian migrants, 5% in children under 15 years of age, 3% in health workers and 8% in people with diabetes.
In the activity, Dr. Félix Antonio Cruz Jiminián assured that the Dominican Republic is the country where tuberculosis and the situation of the Covid-19 pandemic have been best treated because “we have the most sensitive doctors, who hurt them when a patient dies .”
To continue with the objective of tuberculosis prevention, the Ministry of Health, in coordination with different entities, will hold the National Information Day for the Prevention of Tuberculosis throughout the country, where there will be active participation of the Area and Provincial Health Directorates, the National Health Service, scientific societies, universities and the Association of those affected by the disease (Asodenat).
The purpose of the campaign is to inform the population that tuberculosis is a preventable and curable disease, that, if it presents suspicious signs or symptoms, such as cough and cold for more than 15 days, as well as unexplained weight loss, evening fever, night sweats should go to the nearest health center, especially in vulnerable people such as patients with HIV, people with diabetes, pregnant women, among others.
The event, held at the Cruz Jiminián clinic, was also attended by the following doctors: Yocastia de Jesús, director of Collective Health; Elsa Camilo, Director of Family Health; and Ms. Eridania Brito, representative of civil society.
Also doctors Jesús Suardi; director of Area IV of Health, and Ricardo Elías Melgen, director of Population Health Management.