Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Ministry of Health has urged all Indonesians to help end the negative stigma surrounding tuberculosis (TB) so that infections can be identified completely and eliminated in the country.

"We must free them from self-stigma for achieving TB elimination," the ministry's director of communicable disease prevention and control, Imran Pambudi, said at the "Mental Health and Psychosocial Needs in People with TB" webinar on Wednesday.

Apart from making it difficult to detect TB, the negative stigma also causes patients to lose their motivation to undergo therapy, he noted.

Patients who are reluctant to take TB medication tend to develop drug-resistant TB, he added.

There is research showing that some TB patients only start receiving treatment two months after they have been infected with the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, he informed. One of the reasons for this is the negative stigma surrounding TB patients.

This, he said, is risky because, during the two-month period, those TB patients could potentially spread the disease to the people around them.

"Accelerating the start of the treatment is also a very important thing," he underscored.

For this reason, he asked the community to end the negative stigma surrounding TB patients to break the chain of TB spread and support efforts to eliminate the disease in Indonesia by 2030.

The 2023 Global TB Report put the number of new cases of TB in Indonesia at 1.060 million, of which around 30 thousand were cases of drug-resistant TB.

Last year, Indonesia managed to detect around 821 thousand new TB cases, or around 78 percent of new cases, as per the report.

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Translator: Sean Filo, Raka Adji
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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