Hope for Future Generations and its partners, Ghana National TB Voice Network, Stop TB Partnership Ghana, Young Health Advocates Ghana, Ghana Health Service and Ghana TB Control Programme have collaborated to train selected young people from across the country to collect relevant data towards ending tuberculosis in Ghana.
The two-day training which was held in Accra was to address the knowledge gap with regard to relevant data about the disease in Ghana.
The beneficiaries were taken through the OneImpact TB Community-led Monitoring and Mobile Application that will be used in various communities and health facilities to collect data which will be analysed and inform relevant policy decisions toward ending TB.
Jerry Amoah Larbi, the national coordinator for the National TB Voice Network, said the mobile app is “a game-changer in fighting TB and Covid in Ghana. It contains a lot of information on TB, how it spreads and all the knowledge about it as well as Covid-19… Education on TB has gone very low because of lack of resources, so we are using this application as a means of educating the general public and also getting information for our advocacy work and campaigns within the communities. Among other things, the data collected will help us measure stigma at the community level, plan advocacy and shape policy.”
According to the World Health Organisation, 1.5 million people died from TB in 2020, including 214,000 people with HIV.
The curable disease is the 13th leading cause of death and the second leading infectious killer after COVID-19, above HIV/AIDS in the world.
The WHO says TB is present in all countries and age groups and although it is curable and preventable, many continue to die from it amidst the dwindling public education and campaigns about it.
The Executive Director of the HFFG, Cecilia Senoo said there are still several misconceptions about tuberculosis that are holding people back from seeking treatment when they fall ill and those must be addressed.
“The stigma for TB is so high and the myths and misconceptions are too high which is fueling the growing number of people dying from TB. Many people are suffering from it but are not accessing treatment because of this,” she lamented.
She further called on the government to increase its domestic allocation to the TB programme to ensure that the fight against the disease is sustained and made effective, especially at the community level.
“CSOs are doing their best, but they need resources to do the work. The government has to start looking at TB as one of the important public health conditions that they have to invest money into, and especially they should look at community health. If we don’t increase domestic resources for health, it means our health systems will break,” she stated.
The OneImpact Community-led Monitoring and Advocacy Project, which is expected to end in January 2023, is being funded by the Stop TB Partnership Geneva.
The project is currently being undertaken in high TB burden districts in the Greater Accra, Volta and Central Regions.