The other day when I was in a local pentecostal church,
they shared how one of their members, who was also in their Bible school, had
died the night before of tuberculosis. I found the UN report below very
BAMAKO, 23 October (IRIN) - Tuberculosis is making a comeback in Mali, partly
as a result of HIV/AIDS patients falling prey to the disease, but also
because the respiratory disease is considered shameful and patients are
reluctant to seek treatment, government officials said.
Diallo Alima Nacko, coordinator of the National Campaign Against
Tuberculosis, told IRIN that the number of reported cases had increased 46
percent over the past seven years from 1,886 in 1995 to 2,757 in 2002.
"Above all, tuberculosis is a social disease," added N'Diaye
Fatoumata Coulibaly, the Minister for Rural Development.
She pointed out that it was prevalent among the rising number of HIV/AIDS
sufferers in Mali, where according to UNAIDS, about two percent of the adult
population is infected with the virus.
But Coulibaly said tuberculosis was also considered socially shameful, so it
was often difficult to track down sufferers and persuade them to come forward
"Tuberculosis is a major cause of mortality among people infected with
HIV/AIDS," the minister said. But she added: "The resurgence of
tuberculosis cannot just be explained by AIDS. It is more especially a result
of difficulties linked to the tracking down of sufferers."
Mali has been fighting the disease with the help of the World Health
Organisation (WHO) since 1963. Last weekend, the government launched a fresh
drive to persuade tuberculosis patients to come forward for treatment. It
began in Sikasso, a town near the southern borders with Burkina Faso and Cote
d'Ivoire, whose mayor was a once victim of the disease, but has been
completely cured. He now strongly urges other tuberculosis sufferers to come
The government aims to persuade tuberculosis patients to accept a short
course of chemotherapy, which is available free of charge at hospitals and
health centres throughout this landlocked West African country. The treatment
programme currently has a 60 percent success rate, although the government is
aiming to raise this to 85 percent.
People aged between 25 and 44 are considered most susceptible to developing
tuberculosis, which congests the lungs and causes difficulties in breathing.
"Unfortunately, less than a third of these people are detected in
time," said Nacko, the campaign coordinator, stressing that this made it
difficult to cut the chain of infection.
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Ask of Me, and I will make the nations your inheritance. (Ps 2:8)
Dr. Claudia R. Wintoch
s/c Ecole Biya
Tel. (+223) 220 0311
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