Ghanaian regional capital reports increasing TB prevalence

The tuberculosis and HIV coordinator of Bolgatanga, Ghana, recently said that 154 residents died from tuberculosis between 2006 and 2012.

Williams Amankwa said that there were 1,397 cases of the highly infectious disease during the same period. He added that the number of TB cases in the municipality increased whenever the number of HIV cases increased because HIV compromises the body's immune system, according to

Amankwa reported that when Bolgatanga, the capital of the Upper East Region, surpassed Ghana's other regional capitals in the prevalence of HIV cases in 2011, the number of TB cases spiked to 261, with 13 fatalities. While 2011 had the highest number of TB cases out of the last six years, it also recorded the lowest number of deaths.

Dr. Samuel Aborah, the head of the public health unit and the TB coordinator at Bolgatanga Regional Hospital, said that his hospital recorded 625 TB cases in the last two years alone. Sixteen deaths were reported at the hospital during the same period, reports.

Both public health experts stressed that TB was not a curse. They said that TB sufferers are often stigmatized, which may contribute to the region's high TB rate. TB treatment is free of charge in the Upper East Region and the experts urged residents to report to a hospital if they experienced a prolonged cough and weight loss.