Drop in visits to health facilities hampers TB treatment: ministry


Jakarta (ANTARA) – Reduced number of public visits to health facilities during the pandemic has become one of the challenges in the management of tuberculosis (TB) in Indonesia, the Ministry of Health has informed.

“During the pandemic, the number of visits to community health facilities tends to decrease. This becomes one of our challenges to achieve the 90% treatment success rate (TSR) target,” said the Director of Infectious Disease Prevention and Control (P2PM) of the Ministry of Health, Didik Budijanto, said during the commemoration of World Tuberculosis Day, viewed online from Jakarta on Thursday.

Another challenge to achieve a 90% TSR has been mobilizing health workers in health facilities to manage COVID-19 and conduct immunization activities, he added.

“We know that COVID-19 has taken all our resources, so we are focusing on that,” Budijanto said.

In addition, active case finding by health facilities and communities has been hampered due to social restrictions.

“Now these are our challenges. We have to be able to achieve the goal we have set for ourselves,” Budijanto said.

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He then described five TB recovery strategies in Indonesia.

The first is prevention by vaccination against Bacille Calmette-Guérin (BCG).

The second is screening, detection and surveillance of cases. This strategy includes contact tracing and active discovery in general and at-risk populations. It also covers access to screening, diagnostic and support facilities. It further includes active surveillance in health centers and hospitals and provision of adequate human resources.

The third strategy is treatment. This involves a number of activities, such as providing TB diagnostic facilities or networks in all referral services, providing adequate and sustainable TB logistics, and tracking patient medications.

Meanwhile, the fourth recovery strategy of the TB program is collaboration, partnership and networking.

“This should be highlighted. Such as coordination with relevant ministries/institutions, professional organizations and the public. According to Presidential Decree number 67 of 2021 regarding the treatment of tuberculosis,” Budijanto said.

The fifth strategy is behavior change by raising awareness about appropriate treatment and conducting behavior change campaigns, he added.

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