PJ TWOMEY Hospital medical superintendent Doctor Sakiusa Mainawalala confirmed that the number of tuberculosis cases being treated in the country increased from 213 in 2011 to 218 last year.
Dr Mainawalala said this during the national tuberculosis champions graduation in Tamavua last Thursday.
"At the moment, we have 12 cases at the Twomey Hospital that is excluding the other centres in Labasa and Lautoka," Dr Mainawalala said.
"Normally, we would know all the numbers at the end of the quarter because we do quarterly reports so we do not have the total figures for this year yet," he said.
"We try our best as possible to make sure that 90 per cent of those cases being treated at the various centres complete their treatment.
"One of the issues that we face at the hospital is case holding whereby patients are required to stay in for a period of two months or more depending on their condition, which is basically determined by their doctors," he said.
He said there were two phases to TB treatment. There was the intense phase which was for two months and the relapse phase which could be for more than three months.
"One of the challenges that are faced by TB patients is social issues, especially for patients that have children and families that rely on them on a daily basis," Dr Mainawalala said.
"People with TB need to be aware that TB has a cure and one of the things that we try to do is to create awareness on the issue," he said.
Dr Mainawalala said the social and economic impact of the joint disease scourge would drive many into new poverty and deeply impoverish those already marginalised and vulnerable among the population.
He said TB was a major threat to the rights of the child, adolescents and their families and the social impacts affected our mandated populations disproportionately.
"The stigma faced by TB infected women and young people is devastating," he added.