World TB Day 2022, Efforts to Eliminate Tuberculosis Cases in Indonesia Need to Learn from Handling Covid-19 – Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the focus of attention on health issues has been focused on this virus, thus hampering the handling of other diseases, one of which is tuberculosis (TB).

Tuberculosis itself is still a big challenge for the people of Indonesia. Based on data from the Ministry of Health, new cases of tuberculosis in Indonesia reached 824,000, the third highest number after India and China.

While the death rate of tuberculosis reached 94,000 cases. This means that every 1 hour 11 people in Indonesia die from this lung disease.

“Since the pandemic, there has been a change in focus, efforts to eliminate TB are no longer a concern … As a result, there has been a decrease in cases being examined, the fewer cases are treated, the higher the transmission rate,” said Dr. Erlina Burhan, Sp.P(K), at World TB Day Commemoration press conferenceWednesday (23/3/2022).

Therefore, to commemorate World Tuberculosis Day which falls on March 24 with the theme “Invest for Tuberculosis Elimination, Save the Nation”, the Indonesian Lung Doctors Association (PDPI) invites all elements of society to participate.

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World TB Day 2022 Press Conference, Indonesian Lung Doctors Association.
World TB Day 2022 Press Conference, Indonesian Lung Doctors Association.

Here, PDPI is committed to increasing the activity of finding and treating TB cases, by collaborating with various parties, not only fellow professionals but also various levels of government and community.

For the handling of TB, it is hoped that we can learn from the strategy for handling the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting from the readiness of medical personnel, health facilities to diagnostic tools.

On the other hand, the community is also expected to participate in education on prevention and early detection of tuberculosis in their environment. “Learning from Covid, we are not ashamed to declare ourselves or post on social media if it is positive, it should be for TB as well, so people are no longer ashamed of TB so that it removes the stigma,” added Dr. Erlina.

The public is advised to check immediately when there are symptoms that point to tuberculosis such as coughing for more than 2 weeks, coughing up blood, prolonged fever, weight loss and appetite.

Please note, there are various risk factors for people getting tuberculosis, the first is the environment. This disease is susceptible to transmission in very crowded places such as houses that are close together with minimal ventilation so that there is no air exchange.

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Illustration of dry cough herbal medicine.  (freepik)
Illustration of tuberculosis cough. (freepik)

Because tuberculosis germs will multiply quickly in damp places. The second is those who have comorbid HIV, diabetes and others who have a lower immune system.

Active smokers should also be aware of TB. Almost 70 percent of adult male smokers in Indonesia, and smokers usually experience chronic inflammation in their breathing which generally causes coughing, so they think it’s just a normal cough when it could be tuberculosis.

“A normal healthy person doesn’t cough, if he coughs for a long time there must be something wrong,” explained Dr. Erlina.

With these efforts, PDPI will also continue to conduct research in the context of developing vaccines, new Tuberculosis drugs and Latent Tuberculosis Infection (ILTB) to be recommended to the government in order to achieve the target of reducing cases of 17% per year.