JAKARTA, NETRALNEWS.COM - Director of Prevention and Control of Direct Communicable Diseases at the Indonesian Ministry of Health Dr. Siti Nadia Tarmizi says tuberculosis (TB) is still a major health problem in the world, including Indonesia.
It is estimated that there are 845,000 cases of regular TB, and 24,000 cases resistant TB cases in Indonesia.
In a pandemic situation, of the 845,000 TB cases that should have been discovered in 2020, there were only 350,000 cases that were actually discovered. Meanwhile, for resistant TB cases, of the estimated 24,000 cases that should have been found, only 860 cases were actually discovered.
The percentage of cases found in 2018 and 2019 was 60%. However, it turns out that in 2020 the opposite was true, only 30% of cases were found.
"This is an alarm for us in 2021 to immediately get back on track and find the number of cases according to the estimate," Dr. Nadia said, as quoted from the Ministry of Health website, on Wednesday (03/24/2021)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, TB health services were carried out with health protocols according to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. TB health services are ensured to continue running, and the frequency of TB patient findings will not reduce quality.
This is done by monitoring the medication electronically via WhatsApp or other electronic means.
"So every day the patient is contacted by means of communication, either with the patient or the patient's family. So when taking medicine at the health center or at the hospital, the contact number will be asked so that it can be monitored electronically," she explained.
In addition, there is also a policy to relax the interval for taking medication. In TB patients sensitive to the intensive phase, TB drugs can be given within a period of 14 to 28 days, while in follow-up treatment the interval is 28 days to 56 days, from previously only 2 weeks.
Drug-resistant TB patients are also given convenience, namely every seven days, and the follow-up is in the 14 to 28 day phase.
"We urge people who have coughing symptoms for more than two weeks or coughs that are not known to be cured by normal cough medicine to immediately go to a health service facility. You don't need to be afraid to go to the health center or hospital," Nadia said.
On the same occasion, Deputy Chairperson of the 2021 Tuberculosis Control Expert Committee Prof. Tjandra Yoga Aditama said that from the COVID-19 prevention program, for example testing, tracing, and treatment, the same thing could also be done for tuberculosis. Wearing a mask can also clearly prevent transmission of COVID-19 and prevent transmission of TB.
"So masks are indeed important to reduce the transmission of all diseases that are excreted through the respiratory tract. We hope that all health services will run well to deal with COVID-19 and also to deal with tuberculosis," he said.
For example, contact tracing of positive COVID-19 cases is carried out to prevent transmission. Likewise, contact tracing of TB patients is necessary to prevent transmission.
COVID-19 will not be finished if it only relies on the government, there must be community involvement to deal with the disease. The same is true for tuberculosis.