Toronto - Toronto Public Health is collaborating with community partners to promote awareness of tuberculosis (TB) on World TB Day, March 24. Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) selects a theme for World TB Day that serves as a call to action; this year’s theme is “I am stopping TB.”
“This year’s theme marks the start of a larger TB campaign for the WHO, and it carries a very important message. Everyone has a role to play in stopping TB,” said Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Director of Communicable Disease Control and Associate Medical Officer of Health for Toronto Public Health. “Patients can become active participants in their own care, and health care providers must stay alert to the symptoms, provide prompt diagnosis and administer necessary treatment. Scientists can stop TB by engaging in research to develop new diagnostics, new drugs and new vaccines.”
In Toronto, there were 320 cases of TB reported in 2006. The majority of individuals with TB come from countries where TB is more common, and where access to testing and treatment may be limited.
Co-ordinated efforts between health care providers and the community ensure that effective TB strategies, standards and policies are developed, implemented and evaluated. Toronto Public Health collaborates with community groups, health care professionals and agencies working with newcomers to increase TB awareness and to advocate for timely medical follow up, treatment and contact follow up.
Toronto’s 2008 World TB Day activities include information sessions for agencies assisting newcomers, and TB Skin Test workshops for long-term care facilities and hospitals. Toronto Public Health is also providing consultation on the content of Citizenship and Immigration Canada training sessions. This training is for frontline workers and volunteers supporting the resettlement of refugees when they first arrive in Canada.
TB is treatable, preventable and curable. For more information about World TB Day in Toronto, visit http://www.toronto.ca/health/tb_prevention