Nearly 13,000 TB cases reported in Sierra Leone

Public health officials in Sierra Leone recently announced that nearly 13,000 cases of tuberculosis were reported in that country in 2011.

Dr. Alie H. Wurie, the program manager for the National Leprosy and Tuberculosis Control Program of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, said that TB test centers have aided in the accuracy of surveillance efforts, according to

Wurie said that the situation has changed dramatically since the 1980s, when there were only three hospitals in the entire country.

"Today, we have 160 centers with trained and qualified staff including community stakeholders all over the country where people go to be tested for TB," Wurie said, reports. "It is not easy but we are going to put more effort to make sure that people are properly educated about the diseases."

Wurie added that TB patients in rural areas are receiving free treatment.

A 2011 World Bank report said TB rates in Sierra Leone are increasing. Between 2004 and 2007, the number of cases nearly doubled, despite a projected case detection rate of 52 percent. The recent emergence of multi-drug resistant TB further complicates the situation, as does TB/HIV coinfection.