It is common for patients with tuberculosis not to seek treatment until quite late in the progress of their condition. This is particularly the case in developing countries, where access to health care is often limited. Finding ways to improve treatment seeking behaviour has long been recognised as a priority.
Progress achieved in Liberia in recent years therefore comes as welcome news. Government and NGO awareness campaigns have taken place in the capital Monrovia and surrounding areas, encouraging sufferers to come forward for treatment. So-called “TB hubs” have als been set up throughout the capital to encourage people with consistent coughing to be tested. One of the aims of the awareness programme is to overcome the widespread belief in Liberia that TB is fatal and incurable. As a result, there have been increases in the number of people receiving treatment.
But beyond the capital less progress has been made. Solomon Addison, TB project coordinator with the International Committee of the Red Cross says, “We are still seeing very low caseloads in smaller towns, which we do not think necessarily reflects the [real number of infections]. We need to expand our treatment and our [education campaigns] there”.
Further details on IRIN News.