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Analytical summary - Tuberculosis

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In Liberia, the notification of tuberculosis (TB) trend has shown a steady rise over the years, increasing from 1771 cases of all forms of TB being reported in 2001 to 5402 cases in 2011 (see Table 1). The increased detection rate can be attributed to the expansion of TB services to all parts of the country and an improvement in the capacity of the health system to diagnose and report cases.

Table 1.TB cases estimated and reported, 2005–2011. Source: Ministry of Health and Social Welfare
Figure 1. New smear positive TB cases detection rate. Source: Ministry of Health and Social Welfare

The TB new case detection rate is gradually increasing, although there have been fluctuations between 2006 and 2008 (see Figure 1). The case detection rate for 2008 was 61%, compared with 71% in 2010. This figure is above the WHO recommended target of 70%. However, sustaining and increasing access is still a great challenge.

Figure 2. TB treatment success rate, 2000–2011. Source: Ministry of Health and Social Welfare

The TB treatment success rate (total number of patients who completed TB treatment and were declared cured) has shown remarkable improvement, increasing from 67% in 2008 to 82% in 2010 (see Figure 2). Factors associated with the increased treatment success rate include encouraging patients to continue treatment and dismissing myths associated with the disease.

There has been an increase and improvement in DOTS (the basic package that underpins the Stop TB Strategy) services to help facilitate adequate coverage in the country. Currently, 317 health facilities (57.5% of the 551 functional health facilities) are providing DOTS services throughout the country.