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TB Cases, Deaths Decline in Yemen Because of Awareness Programs

Tuberculosis cases and deaths in Yemen are declining because of an intensive awareness campaign about the disease and the availability of training programs// for health workers, experts said recently, IRIN News reports.

According to World Health Organization statistics, TB incidence in Yemen has decreased from 236 cases per 100,000 people in 1990 to 82 cases per 100,000 people in 2005. During the same period, TB mortality has decreased from 16 deaths per 100,000 people to 10 deaths per 100,000 people. In addition, Yemen has a TB treatment success rate of 86%, according to Amin Noman al-Absi, general director of the National TB Control Program at the Ministry of Public Health and Population.

A number of health workers nationwide have received training on treating TB, IRIN News reports. Midwives and nurses also will be trained on TB and how to handle medicines, al-Absi said. In addition, there is a new campaign in the country to enlist the help of the private sector, military hospitals, central prisons and nongovernmental organizations in TB treatment, he added.

Further, the TB control program runs awareness programs about the disease on seven local radio stations and on television, according to IRIN News. "We distribute posters among patients and educate them on how to prevent the epidemic," Othman al-Hasoosah of the TB control program said, adding, "We have also trained volunteers from other NGOs who are interested in raising awareness of the dangers of TB and ways of preventing it."

Yemen's TB control program in February launched a new survey to determine the TB situation in the country. The survey, which is supported by the Global Fund To Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, is focusing on students ages 7 to 12 in 132 schools.

Yemen has the second highest TB mortality rate in the Middle East after Iraq, and the disease is the fourth leading cause of death, IRIN News reports. Poor hygiene and poverty are the two main factors fueling the spread of TB in the country, according to al-Hasoosah.

Source-Kaiser Family Foundation

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