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Day of awareness

Dawn Gibson
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

YESTERDAY the world marked World Tuberculosis (TB) Day — a day dedicated to raising awareness about the curable nature of TB and the need to work towards eradicating the disease altogether.

This was discussed yesterday morning at a church service at TB Day celebrations at PJ Twomey Hospital in Tamavua, where TB clinic medical officer Dr William Kaitani said Fiji needed to reach out to its entire TB-positive population and help them get treatment to remove the infectious disease.

"When TB started in Fiji in 1946, we used to have a lot of TB in Fiji — about 220 people per 100,000 cases, so it was quite big then," Dr Kaitani said.

"Treatment came to Fiji in 1952, so people were living on cough mixture and cod liver oil.

"Incidentally, TB germs were discovered in 1882, but the treatment was never found until 1945 and that's when we converted the military hospital here to be the first TB institution in Fiji — from 1946 until now."

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