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Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices of Tuberculosis among Sri Lankan Public

MG Consultants Private Limited (MGC) signed the agreement to conduct a national survey on knowledge, attitude and practices related to Tuberculosis (TB) among the public, with the Ministry of Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine, in December 2015.  The survey results will be directly used by the National Programme for Tuberculosis Control and Chest Diseases (NPTCCD) aiming at public involvement of TB control through advocacy, communication and social mobilisation, in fulfilling its National Strategic Plan for TB Control 2015-2020.  The NPTCCD is the main Governmental organization responsible for tuberculosis and chest diseases control activities.  The central unit of the NPTCCD functions under the Ministry of Health, Nutrition & Indigenous Medicine and the activities are carried out through the network of District Chest Clinics in the country. 

TB is contagious bacterial diseases caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.  An untreated patient infected with TB can transfer the bacterium to others by coughing and sneezing.  Once inhaled, the bacterium occupies the lung.  The symptom of the disease appears only in one out of ten infected persons, within weeks or years after infection.  The clinical symptoms at the initial stage may include chronic cough, high temperature and coughing up blood strained sputum.  Though the bacteria causing TB infects the lung first, it could spread to other parts of the body too.  The infection may spread in bones, kidneys, female reproductive organs, abdominal cavity, joints, meninges, skin and even throughout the body.  If not treated properly, the patient will infect others before his/her eventual death.  However, with the continued treatment with drugs, TB may not spread to others in close contact, after the first month of the treatment and the patient will be cured usually within six months. 

An elderly infected person may show illness due to reactivation of the bacteria lain dormant for some time, with the weakening of the immune system due to age.  Similarly, an HIV/AIDs patient may especially be vulnerable to TB due to weakened immune system.  Overcrowded dwellings and insufficient ventilation may lead to rapid spread of TB.  The current annual new case detection rate of TB in Sri Lanka is considered 48 /100,000 population. 

MGC is proud to assist the NPTCCD in the implementation of the National Strategic Plan for TB Control 2015-2020.  The plan expects rethinking on the structure of TB control activities and commencing the use of the technical advances in TB control guided by the new strategic directions of the World Health Organisation (WHO).  One of the objectives of the National Strategic Plan for controlling TB is to ensure that quality TB services in line with current international standards are provided by qualified and regularly supervised personnel at 100% of all treatment sites by 2017.