Tuberculosis on the Rise in Denpasar

Tuberculosis is an increasing issue in Bali, according to health officials.

Recently released figures for 2010 show a total of 479 people were listed as suffering from the disease in Denpasar. This marked an increase from 418 TB cases recorded in the Bali capital in 2009.

Chairman of the Denpasar branch of The Indonesian Tuberculosis Eradication Organisation (PPTI) I Made Sudhana Satrigraha said that as well as recording increasing cases of the disease, cure rates for TB in Denpasar were still below the national target.

Government targets require a full cure for 70 percent of TB patients whereas doctors in Denpasar are currently managing a rate of just 65 percent, Satrigraha said.

“The low level of recovery is largely due to the fact that patients change addresses frequently, so it is very difficult for health officers to monitor them during the treatment process,” he said.

Satrigraha said compliance with treatment was also a problem. A full six-month course of antibiotics was needed to cure TB, he said, but many patients stopped taking the drugs when they began to feel better after just a few months, leading to relapses.

He added that PPTI was making increasing efforts in the field of public awareness in Denpasar to highlight these issues to potential patients.

Satrigraha said the occurrence of HIV-AIDS exacerbated the threat of TB, and AIDS patients were particularly susceptible to the disease.

“The issue of HIV-AIDS could increase the occurrence of TB, because sufferers’ immune systems have very weak resistance,” he said.

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