President Abdulla Yameen on Thursday inaugurated a national campaign to eliminate tuberculosis in the Maldives by 2022.
The MVR 170 million campaign was launched at a ceremony in Hotel Jen. According to the government, the campaign entails special treatments and screening for infected individuals, raising public awareness, and screening visitors from overseas and taking prevention steps.
The objectives of the campaign include reducing infections to 50 percent and deaths to 70 percent. A contagious disease caused by a bacteria that most often affect the lungs, tuberculosis is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide with 1.7 million dying of the disease in 2016, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Speaking at the launching ceremony, WHO Representative Dr Arvind Mathur noted that tuberculosis is one of the most contagious and dangerous diseases in the world. He declared that there was much to be done to eliminate the disease from the Maldives.
Health minister Abdulla Nazim also took to the podium, lauding Yameen for taking the initiative to eradicate tuberculosis from the Maldives as one of the government’s highest priorities.
The Maldives had successfully eliminated malaria in 2015, followed by filarial in 2016 and measles in 2017. Nazim announced that this year’s target is to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
Statistics previously published by the health ministry showed that since 1963, 10,563 individuals were registered after tuberculosis infection in the Maldives.