TB screening for diabetics in the works

National 1 minute, 47 seconds


TUBERCULOSIS (TB) screening for all diabetics undergoing monitoring and treatment in Brunei is currently in the pipeline.

Head of National Tuberculosis Coordinating Centre (NTCC) Hjh Rafizah Hj Abd Hamid said this is part of the 2013 to 2017 National TB Programme (NTP) that seeks to increase the screening of high-risk groups.

According to Hjh Rafizah, those with diabetes have a well-documented risk of contracting TB.

“Research shows that approximately 15 per cent of TB patients have diabetes, mainly because diabetes impairs one’s immunity,” she said.

Hjh Rafizah said that patients with diabetes are also more likely to suffer worse tuberculosis treatment outcomes and have a higher rate of relapse following treatment, compared to patients only suffering from TB.

“We are currently planning for diabetes patients at the Endocrine Unit at Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital to receive screening first, followed by a phase by phase implementation to other departments, health centres and clinics,” she said.

Under NTP’s five-year plan, TB screening has already been rolled out to other high-risk settings, including renal dialysis centres and prisons.

“TB screening in prisons and detention centres was initiated in 2014. We screened 111 wardens and 138 inmates that year,” she said.

Latent TB infections, where individuals are found with the TB germ but have yet to develop the disease, were found in 9 per cent of wardens and 5.8 per cent of inmates according to screenings last year.

To test for TB, two nurses and three wardens have undergone training to allow them to independently perform mantoux tests – where a small amount of TB protein (antigens) is injected under the top layer of skin to create a reaction which is measured 48 to 72 hours later to see if the person has been exposed to germs that cause TB.

A training to conduct TB tests has also been extended to the Jerudong Park Medical Centre.

“JPMC is now screening their health care workers, as well as medical fitness for overseas training and routine medical checkup. Under the NTP, the expansion of screening has been advised, when resources are available,” said Hjh Rafizah.

There were 198 recorded cases of TB last year, compared to 212 in 2013 and 240 in 2012.

The Brunei Times