First TB treatment center to be built in northern city of Trujillo

A modern health center designed to attend to patients suffering from tuberculosis will be constructed in the northern coastal city of Trujillo, daily El Comercio reported.

“We’re building a modern center, with the region’s money, but also with the help of an institution such as CARE, who decided to offer us 670,000 soles, or $209,000, to fight this disease,” said La Libertad Regional President, José Murgia Zannier.

Construction of the health center – valued at 3.6 million soles, or $1.1 million, began yesterday, and should be completed by July. The specialized clinic, to be equipped with a laboratory and 12 hospital beds, will offer free medical attention to patients suffering from tuberculosis, or TB.

In 2008, 1,147 TB cases were recorded in the department of La Libertad, and 32,400 in Peru.

Approximately 58 percent of these cases are detected in the greater Lima area, including the capital’s La Victoria district, where approximately five children are tested positive for TB each week.

Tuberculosis, or TB, is a curable disease that kills millions in the developing world, offering a glaring example of global inequalities in access to health care.

Drugs to fight TB have existed for 50 years, and deaths from TB are extremely rare in developed countries. Yet, reports Partners in Health, or PIH, the disease kills 5,000 people each day, and nearly 2 million each year.

If TB patients do not take each medication at the prescribed time or are unable to complete the full course of treatment – most often because they are unable to pay for the medication – their tuberculosis may become resistant.

According to PIH, “over the past 15 years, incomplete TB treatments—due to shortages of medicines and medical personnel, civil disruptions, and socioeconomic barriers for patients—have led to a proliferation of strains of tuberculosis resistant to two or more TB medications.”

These strains, known as multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, or MDR-TB, are now present throughout many developing countries, such as Peru and Russia.

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