Tue, 15 Jan 2002

Regions told to boost TB eradication

BANDUNG: Minister of Health Ahmad Sujudi asked regional governments on Monday to step up the campaign against tuberculosis (TB).

In his speech read by Director General of Communicable Diseases and Environmental Health Umar Fahmi Ahmad, Sujudi urged governments of provinces, regencies and mayoralties nation-wide to immediately start their jobs under the integrated nation-wide TB eradication move.

Under the program, the regional governments have to draw up their respective program to eradicate the disease, which claims 140,000 lives in the country annually and places Indonesia just behind India and China.

"The absence of political commitment, promotion and the consistent remedy account for the failure to cope with the disease in the country," Sujudi told a forum of regional governments.

The disease can be healed if a patient takes anti-TB medicine uninterruptedly in six months. The government has provided the drug for free at community health centers.

The free medication has now covered between 10 percent and 20 percent of TB carriers but the government has set a target of increasing the figure to 70 in 2005 in line with the World Health Organization's request. -- Antara