How Do I Know ??
Dr. Madan M Vasandani
I attended a school nurse conference today and what I experienced there today really opened my eyes on how ‘neglect’ is an epidemic of epic proportions. The topic raised in the conference was Management of a Case of Tuberculosis when detected in school.
Dear readers, did you know that Indonesia has the 4th highest number of cases of Tuberculosis in the world and that 1 in 6 Indonesians have Tuberculosis. This is a concern for me especially as a parent. My mind started wandering during the conference in to the abyss of my sons’ school.
How do I know that my sons’ school is free of Tuberculosis? Do they have a screening test to ensure each and every one in the school compound is free of Tuberculosis? They do not and this has caused me to spiral down to write an email to the school and also to write this blog.
What is Tuberculosis?
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. It most often affects the lung causing a condition called Pulmonary Tuberculosis. It can also affect other organs like the Lymph nodes, brain, Gastro Intestinal Tract and even the bones.
How is it transferred?
TB is transferred by droplets. Droplets are only produced by Coughing, sneezing, singing and even talking. The bacteria is not shed in a person’s saliva, hence sharing utensils or food cannot transmit the disease.
What are the symptoms of Tuberculosis?
The most common symptoms of TB are:
- Cough lasting more than 2 – 3 weeks
- Weight loss
- Decreased Appetite
- Night sweats
Infected people may not feel ill or show any symptoms if their immune system can keep the bacterial under control. About 1/3rdof the people of Indonesia are infected without showing any symptoms. When someone’s immune system is weakened, the chances of being sick are greater.
Can TB be cured?
TB can be cured with medication ….. but untreated it can kill. Treatment usually takes 6 months and costs as little Rp 1,000,000 in Jakarta.
So what’s the big idea?
Well, as the conference was attended by school nurses, I would like to ask any head of school, principal, teacher or school owners – Do you have an effective program to ensure your staff, teachers, drivers and even students do not have Tuberculosis? If the answer is NO, which I am sure most of you will answer then it is time to throw the ‘neglect’ in the trash bin and get on with a program. This will not only help us doctors to eradicate TB, it will also boost up the pedigree of your school. As parents we would like our kids to be safe and healthy in school. Kids spend long hours in schools and it is the responsibility of schools to ensure they are safe and free of preventable diseases.
As my eyes were opened, I hope it has the same effect on you.
~If you are a parent, question the school.
~If you work in a school question the management.
~If you own a school or part of management,it is time to implement this program.
Health is a social word; hence, it requires the involvement of the society to keep each and every one healthy. Health doesn’t just fall to your lap like manna from the sky, you have to attain it.