Published:  12:07 AM, 07 October 2019

'High time to introduce TB control programs'

'High time to introduce TB control programs' Speakers address a seminar titled 'Tobacco Cessation within TB Programme' at a city hotel on Sunday. -AA

In Bangladesh, every year, more than 350,000 people are affected by Tuberculosis (TB), and more than 70,000 people die due to the same. 20% of the deaths are attributed to tobacco. These death tolls can easily be avoided by collecting information and counseling on tobacco use among TB patients by the TB care providers. The information was revealed in a study conducted by ARK Foundation.

A dissemination seminar titled 'Tobacco cessation within TB Programme' named project was organized at a hotel in the capital on Sunday.

Md Saidur Rahman, Additional Secretary (World Health) of the Health Services Division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was the chief guest of the event. Prof Dr Shamiul Islam, Line Director, National Tuberculosis Control Program and Prof. Dr Shah Monir Hossain were the special guests of the seminar.

The findings of the study were presented by the Executive Director of ARK Foundation, Dr Rumana Huque. In the study funded by the European Union, it was further revealed, that 18% of the TB patients are smokers while at least one in every three male patients smoke.

The risk of death among TB patients who are smokers increases two-fold. A brief counseling session provided by the healthcare provider can play a vital role in helping patients quit smoking. This kind of support for tobacco cessation can annually help 14,000 TB patients to quit tobacco.

Within this study, ARK foundation has trained healthcare providers of 4 districts, to hone their skills in counselling patients for tobacco cessation.

Later, 28% of the TB patients and 40% of males were identified as smokers. The trained healthcare workers were successful in providing counseling and supporting these patients to quit smoking. This proves that, for patients to quit tobacco, providing support through a brief counseling session, is effective and feasible on a large scale.

Through the provision of straightforward simple training to the healthcare providers, it is possible to support patients quit tobacco, and this will cost the government only 65 BDT per month.

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