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Local society seeks to establish healthcare centre for TB patients

By Dana Al Emam - Feb 18,2013 - Last updated at Feb 18,2013

AMMAN — A local society is currently working on establishing a national rehabilitation centre for tuberculosis (TB) patients, its president said earlier this week.

“We are considering establishing a comprehensive rehab for TB patients with 50 beds,” Khalid Abu Rumman, a member of the Jordan Anti-TB Association (JATA) board, said at a seminar on the role of media in fighting TB.

“A total of 330 TB cases were diagnosed in Jordan in 2012, compared with 303 cases in 2000,” Abu Rumman added at the event, organised by the society under the theme “Stop Tuberculosis in my Lifetime” to mark World TB Day, which is observed on March 24.

“Forty Syrian refugees were diagnosed with TB, five of whom are hospitalised,” he noted.

Abu Rumman, who is also the director of the health ministry’s respiratory disease department, said TB prevalence in Jordan in 2012 was 5.17 cases per 100,000 people, which is “low” in respect to the region.

“In total, some 90 non-Jordanians were diagnosed with TB in 2012,” he added at the seminar, held in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and the Jordanian Society for Health Awareness.

Symptoms of TB include coughing blood, difficulty in breathing, fever, loss of appetite, night sweats and fatigue, according to Abu Rumman.

Treatment for TB usually extends for months and includes intensive treatment for two to three months, followed by a complementary treatment plan that lasts four to five months, according to a booklet issued by the National TB Programme.

Several factors cause TB infections, including direct contact with TB patients.

“War and migration increase the possibility of TB infections,” Abu Rumman told the audience.

Nadia Abu Sabrah, another JATA member, said people with weak immune systems are more likely to contract the disease.

“Risk factors also include malnutrition, being in crowded places and improper ventilation,” Abu Sabrah added.

“TB can be prevented by following healthy habits and living in clean and well ventilated houses,” she said at the seminar, adding that “those who suffer from fever and coughing for two weeks or more should seek medical help”.

Also at the seminar, Jordanian Society for Health Awareness President Zuhair Abu Fares drew attention to the problems that TB patients face.

“TB is stereotypically associated with a social stigma… many TB patients cannot find jobs or get married,” Abu Fares said.

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