GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Feb 5, CMC – The Programme Coordinator of the National Tuberculosis Programme (NTP), Dr. Jeetendra Mohanlall says there has been a significant decline in the number of tuberculosis (TB) cases within the prison population.
Dr. Mohanlall said that at the end of 2018, only eight new cases of TB were diagnosed in the four prisons and that this is as a result of “the robust and effective screening efforts that have been implemented in the prison system through a collaboration with the prison authority and with support from the Ministry of Public Health.
“We have had a DOTS [Direct Observed Treatment Short-course] Supervisor in the prisons since 2012, and so, we have been doing a lot of work since then in terms of screening cell by cell, block by block.
“In 2012, we have had 43 new cases in the prisons and over the years because of continuous screening and preventative therapy, last year we have only had eight new cases in all the prisons,” he added.
Dr. Mohanlall said that the DOTS programme faced a number of challenges initially as the staff were not fully investigating the patients.
“For example, they would conduct one part of the investigation and leave out the other part … So, when we evaluated the patients, we found patients before us without proper investigations.” Dr. Mohanlall explained.
The authorities said the TB team from the Georgetown Public Hospital regularly visits these prisons to perform follow-up checks on patients, especially new cases.
The most common type of TB detected in the prisons is Drug-Sensitive TB. This type of Tuberculosis can be cured within six months as long as a patient adheres to treatment.