Thailand aims to reduce tuberculosis rate by 5% annually

Picture courtesy of Lifestylememory, Freepik

The Public Health Ministry of Thailand has set a goal to decrease the annual rate of tuberculosis (TB) cases by 5%. Dr Cherdchai Tontisirin, Dr Niti Haetanurak, and Dr Jos Vandelaer announced this target during a press conference on Friday, marking World Tuberculosis Day. The trio emphasised that, despite being globally recognised as the deadliest disease, tuberculosis’s prevalence is still worryingly high.

Dr Niti highlighted that the disease causes 4,000 deaths and 30,000 new cases daily worldwide, making it the second leading infectious killer after COVID-19. He cited data from the World Health Organization (WHO) stating that in 2022, around 10.6 million tuberculosis cases, 1.3 million deaths due to tuberculosis, and a quarter of the global population suffering from latent tuberculosis infection were reported.

Dr Niti shared that in Thailand, the WHO estimated 111,000 new cases and 12,000 deaths annually. However, the trend is improving, with authorities having provided treatment to 78,000 patients, leaving about 30,000 patients to be treated. He added that the incidence of tuberculosis in Thailand has seen a decline from 241 cases per 100,000 people in 2000 to 143 cases in 2021.

The authorities plan to bring the number of tuberculosis patients down to 80 cases per 100,000 people by 2035. To achieve this, they will focus on seven risk groups: those in close contact with patients, convicts, healthcare workers, individuals with weak immune systems, diabetics, those above 65 years old, and foreign labourers.

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In addition, Dr Cherdchai unveiled the ministry’s End tuberculosis Strategy, which aims to reduce deaths and new cases by 95% and 90%, respectively by 2035, reported Bangkok Post.

Moreover, the National Health Security Office has given preliminary approval to the Tuberculosis Division’s proposal to buy the WHO’s newly formulated antitubercular medication. This new drug can cure tuberculosis patients with no drug resistance within six months, a significant improvement from the previous medication, which could require up to 11 months of use.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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