Laos Ministry of Public Health reports that the infection rate of tuberculosis cases of Lao people is ranked number 5 in Asia for the countries that have highest tuberculosis infection cases.
The survey from 1995 found that every year, there are 67 new tuberculosis cases per 100,000 population, which means every year, there will be more than 4,800 people infected with tuberculosis.
The Lao National tuberculosis control program started in 1995. The World Health Organization said the DOTS coverage and cure rates for Laos in 2000 reached 98 percent and 80 percent respectively. The prevalence of tuberculosis estimated by the World Health Organization was 318 per 100,000 population in 2004. The low case detection rate of 55 percent is a major challenge for tuberculosis control, as is low access to health-care facilities.
Lao officials acknowledge that poverty is one of the main causes that contributes to the increasing the total number of tuberculosis cases in the country. Another one is the lack of the budget. It will take at least 15 years before Laos will be able to eradicate this disease.
Listen to our Laos Today report for more details.