DR has serious TB issues
The number of tuberculosis cases in the country could be much greater than those notified to the Public Health authorities because the National Tuberculosis Control Program only registers about 40% of those affected. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) the number of people with the disease is around 85 to 87 per 100,000.
Vice Minister for Collective Health, Nelson Rodriguez Monegro said that the number of cases continues to be high because detection is difficult. He said that often patients who go to the hospitals with other complaints are not even asked if they have a cough.
He said that doctors at more than 100 health centers have been notified, and the ministry is on alert in 12 jails. The ministry also has a network of 200 laboratories across the country that carry out examinations for the bacillus that allows for a diagnosis of the illness, and they have another six laboratories that can produce the cultures and one specialized lab for reference.
Pneumologist Andres Mena de la Rosa, a former president of the Dominican Society of Pneumologists, attributes the increase in fatalities to the increase in the number of patients who are resistant to the conventional medicines that are classified as multi-drugs. He said that overcrowded living conditions and migration from Haiti, where the disease is endemic, contributes to the high toll of TB victims. He said that many patients die because they require more expensive medicines for advanced cases as well as an average hospital stay of three months.