THE number of tuberculosis (TB) cases in Penang has reduced by 8.8%, from 1,347 cases in 2017 to 1,228 last year.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said death cases related to TB in the state were also reduced from 9.3 per 100,000 population to 8.6 per 100,000 population last year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
“We want Penang to be free from TB in years to come.
“But it’s only achievable if all parties strategise and continue to carry out their commitments each year,” he said after opening the state-level World TB Day at the MRSM Transkrian, Nibong Tebal, recently.
Chow believed the commitment shown by the state health department, non governmental organisations, media and the community would increase awareness on the illness.
He also called upon individuals who have symptoms of TB to get it examined and treated at health clinics or hospitals.
“We believe TB can be cured in less than a year. But if left untreated, it would spread to family members or other working colleagues,” he said, adding that the theme for the celebration this year is “It’s Time For a TB–Free Penang”.
Chow said according to WHO, there were nearly 10 million new TB cases in the world in 2017 with 1.3 million deaths.
He said in Malaysia, there were 25,837 TB cases last year, a reduction by 1.3% compared with 26,168 cases in 2017.
He added that the death rate for TB cases in Malaysia had increased, from 6.5 per 100,000 population in 2017 to 6.6 per 100,000 population last year.
Present at the celebration were state Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin, Penang Health Department deputy director Dr Rokiah Mohd, Nibong Tebal MP Datuk Mansor Othman, Sungai Acheh assemblyman Zulkifli Ibrahim, Jawi assemblyman H’ng Mooi Lye and MRSM Transkrian principal Abdul Tingoon.