The fight against tuberculosis, TB, in Haiti

This year World Tuberculosis Day, acknowledged on March 24 each year, fell on a Monday, and plans to disseminate information on the disease hit the ground running. Part of the success of the venture was due to the aid the Haitian government received from the US in the Caribbean country, which routinely screens for TB within their President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) program


TB is one of the leading causes of death among Haiti's children. It is an infection of the bacterial kind that spreads through the bloodstream and lymph nodes to various organs. Usually found in the lungs, it is easily spread through the air and untreated cases can result in exponential infections as one person may cause an additional 10 to 15 infections per year.

The glaring statistics include that one in every three people around the world are infected with the TB bacterium. 1% of the population of the world gets newly infected every year, which means that there is a new infection every second. With these numbers, the changes made to treatment procedures in Haiti are especially important.

Enormous steps ahead have been made in the power of diagnosing TB. For one, the National Laboratory is now able to do TB cultures. There have also been advances in the methods of treatment and the ability to provide this treatment is being expanded even now. Preventative measures are able being taken including the reduction of instances of infection at health facilities and the early detection and treatment of HIV, since a healthy immune system would be less susceptible to TB.

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