TB is one of the deadliest infectious diseases in the world, says Dr. Sim

Dr. Sim at the opening of the Run.

Minister for Local Government, Datuk Sim Kui Hian said the number of TB in Sarawak is gradually increasing. He disclosed that in the past decade, the reported number of TB cases in Sarawak had increased by an annual average of 5.9%. In 2008, the number of reported TB cases was 1,821. Meanwhile, in 2018, a total of 3,121 TB cases reported. That is slightly more than 70% increment of reported TB cases in the state within a span of 10 years.

Speaking at the 5 KM Run in commemoration of the World TB Day 2019 in Saradise, BDC, Dr. Sim who is the Guest of Honor said TB is one of the deadliest infectious diseases in the world. In 2017, the World Health Organization estimated that 1.6 million people died of TB globally. In 2018, 249 of TB patients reported in Sarawak died associated with TB. This high number of deaths is alarming as TB is curable.

Despite this alarming figures of number of reported TB cases among us in Sarawak, he said, the people must not be misled by misinformation regarding TB as from now on, it is time to demystify this disease.

“All of us gather here early this morning with the realization that it is time for us to make sure that this generation and the next generation are free of this ancient disease. This year’s theme for the World TB Day is IT’S TIME. It is time for us to act. It is time for us to ensure that all Sarawakians are free of TB. It is time for us to make sure that none of our fellow Sarawakians died due to TB. And it is definitely a time for us not to be scared of TB,” he added.

TB is due to an infection by a germ known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It is not inherited from our parents or our descendants. Anybody can be infected with TB when exposed to the germ.

1. TB can affect anybody of any race.

2. TB can affect the poorest and the wealthiest.

3. TB can affect both female and male.

4. TB can affect any age; from babies to the elderly.

5. TB can affect anybody who lives in a big, modern city like Kuching.

6. TB also can affect anybody who lives in the most rural part of Sarawak.

And also, IT’S TIME for all us to understand that TB is not a “dirty” disease. If any of you here knows anybody who has TB and on treatment, there is no reason to avoid them.

1. We can continue to eat with them.

2. We can continue to work with them.

3. We can continue to socialize with them.

4. We can continue to visit them at their homes.

5. We can eat the food that they have prepared.

6. We can continue to shop in their shops or supermarkets.

He said there must be moral support for family and friends who are currently treated for TB as they can play a major role in making sure that they must complete their TB treatment.

“Due to the long duration of TB treatment, many TB patients stopped half way through the treatment period. Not only this can cause death, it can cause development of a type of TB infection that is no longer responsive to the current TB drugs. This type of TB infection is more difficult and longer to treat with a higher chance of causing death,” he explained.

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Dr. Sim at the opening of the Run.

Dr. Sim at the opening of the Run.

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