‘Let’s Start From the Very Beginning…’

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Teacher’s Diary

When Julie Andrews in ‘Sound of Music’ sang, “Let’s start from the very beginning, the very good place to start…” she made a profound statement that cuts across anything anyone might want to do and do successfully.

For nations with high rates of tuberculosis (TB), to eradicate this disease, its people must start from the very beginning. The BCG vaccine given to babies provides the needed protection against TB in children. We know from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that the BCG vaccine currently reaches up to 80 per cent of all newborn children and infants in countries that have high levels of tuberculosis. Is the BCG vaccine easily available in your area?

Currently, countries with high rates of tuberculosis are:
Africa- Generally Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s important to note that Nigeria and South Africa were listed amongst the six countries accounting for 60 per cent of the total deaths globally from tuberculosis in 2015, according WHO Reports online.

Also experiencing incidences of tuberculosis are:
South East Asia including India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Russia, China, South America, The West Pacific Region – to west of the Pacific Ocean including Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines.

Pregnant women in these regions need to consider seriously getting their newborn babies vaccinated with the BCG vaccine soon after they’re born.
The BCG vaccine is currently the only vaccine available for the prevention of tuberculosis in human beings.
What’s it with tuberculosis (TB) you might ask.

Presently globally, tuberculosis (TB) like many bacterial infections, is trudging on as an obstinate multi-drug-resistant infection. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2015 world-over, an estimated 480,000 sufferers developed multi drug resistance to the infection. TB is a serious infection caused by a bacterium known as Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. Its complications can kill if not quickly treated.

This bactermia is contained within the droplets, in the sneezes and coughs of infected persons. Uninflected people inhaling these contaminated droplets, after prolonged contact with the infected, may acquire the bacteria. Symptoms (see below) develop within a few weeks or months and can be very ravaging for the affected individual.

TB mainly affects the lungs (pulmonary TB). It is contagious when the bacteria is located in the lungs. In its active state, where a person’s immune system has failed to kill or contain the infection, its sufferers are infectious to other people. They need to be urgently seen and treated with effective antibiotics prescribed by a doctor that’s able to treat the infection.

Tuberculosis can affect other parts of the body namely glands in the stomach, the nervous system and the bones.
Do you know anyone: coughing for three weeks or more; bringing up phlegmy sputum; coughing up blood, experiencing tiredness and fatigue; losing weight, with an accompanying loss of appetite; experiencing night sweats, chills, fever and high temperatures; having swellings in the neck, then do something quickly!
Get them seen by a competent doctor!