RI fifth in world for tuberculosis prevalence: minister

Bukitinggi, W. Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is today ranked fifth in the world where tuberculosis prevalence is concerned while it was in third place in 2007, Health Minister Endang Rahayu Sedyaningsih said.

Citing WHO data released in 2008, she said there were now 429,000 tb sufferers in Indonesia, down from 529,000 in 2007.

Speaking at a national congress of the Indonesian Lung Specialists Association (PDPI) here Friday, the minister said measured based on the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the number of deaths from tuberculosis per 100,000 people was now 27 whereas in 1990 the figure was 92.

"Indonesia is the first country that has succeeded in meeting the MDG target for tuberculosis control as 70 percent of sufferers were detected and the recovery rate has reached 85 percent," Endang said.

To reduce the number of tb sufferers in the country, the health ministry had devised a national strategy to control the disease.

The strategy called for the strengthening of the health care system and the management of the tuberculosis control program, promoting the increased commitment of the central and regional governments to eradication of tuberculosis and stepping up research, development and utilization of strategic information.

Meanwhile, the ratio between the existing number of lung specialists and the population now was 1:450,000 people.

Indonesia now had a total of 451 lung specialists with 145 of them practicing in the national capital of Jakarta, she said.

The health ministry would in the near future make arrangements for a more even spread of lung specialits across the country so that all Indonesians would have access to good health services and the tuberculosis prevalence figure could be lowered.  (*)