Working together to end tuberculosis


Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      The Department of Health (DH), the Hospital Authority (HA) and the Hong Kong Tuberculosis, Chest and Heart Diseases Association (the Association) today (March 18) jointly held the opening ceremony of a two-day health exhibition for World Tuberculosis (TB) Day 2017 to remind the public to keep on paying attention to and staying vigilant against TB.

     To call for global efforts in combating TB together, the World Health Organization (WHO) has designated March 24 of each year as World TB Day. To tie in with World TB Day 2017, Hong Kong is holding a two-day health exhibition at a shopping mall in Tseung Kwan O today and tomorrow (March 19) to promote public awareness in combating TB.

     Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Under Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan, said that the local TB notification rate has seen a continuous decline, with around 60 cases per 100 000 population per year in recent years - a reduction of about 90 per cent as compared with figures from the 1950s and the 1960s. While Hong Kong has made significant progress in the prevention and control of TB, it remains one of the most prevalent infectious diseases worldwide and there is no room for complacency, she said.

     Professor Chan called on the public to support the efforts to combat TB and to remain vigilant against the disease, which would facilitate the smooth implementation of measures and policies against TB.

"To sustain our achievement in the control of TB, in addition to government departments' effort, the participation and contributions of each and every community organisation and non-governmental organisation (NGO) are indispensable," she said.

     She elaborated that the chest clinics under the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the DH provide TB patients with outpatient consultation and treatment free of charge, and the HA provides inpatient services and special investigation for TB patients. Separately, a number of community organisations and NGOs, including the Association, have made contributions in promoting the activities to combat TB over the years.

     Also addressing the ceremony, the Controller of the CHP, Dr Wong Ka-hing, said that according to the WHO's statistics, 10.4 million new TB cases were reported globally in 2015, including 1.8 million deaths. In addition, the number of multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) cases is estimated to be 480 000 globally.

     Noting that MDR-TB accounted for about 1 per cent of the overall cases locally, Dr Wong said that the low level of cases reflects the effectiveness of the Directly Observed Treatment method adopted by the DH over the years, ensuring that patients complete the whole treatment course.

     "To tackle the global threat of drug-resistant TB and in light of increasing population movement in the region, the DH has proactively introduced new TB drugs to provide more effective treatment for drug-resistant TB patients.

The DH also closely liaises with various medical institutions, government departments and health authorities in other regions to enhance prevention and control of TB in various aspects," he said.

     To minimise the chance of contracting the illness, Dr Wong reminded the public to adopt a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, avoid smoking and alcohol, and have suitable exercise and adequate rest, as the TB germs will attack the body when a person's body resistance is reduced.
        
     Other officiating guests today included the Chairman of the Association, Mr Steve Lan, and the HA Deputising Director (Quality and Safety), Dr Liu Shao-haei.

     For more TB-related information, services and figures, the public may visit the CHP's page on World TB Day (http://www.info.gov.hk/tb_chest/worldtbday.htm" target="_blank">www.info.gov.hk/tb_chest/worldtbday.htm) and the website of the Tuberculosis and Chest Service (http://www.info.gov.hk/tb_chest" target="_blank">www.info.gov.hk/tb_chest), call the telephone hotline (2572 6024) or browse the WHO's TB page (http://www.who.int/tb" target="_blank">www.who.int/tb).



Published on: 2017-03-18

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