Employers must make effort to help keep TB under control, says Health Ministry

SINGAPORE - Employers have a role to play in helping tuberculosis patients get better, said the Health Ministry (MOH) in a statement on Tuesday, which was World Tuberculosis Day.

Typically, tuberculosis patients have to report to polyclinics almost daily to take their medication under the eye of a healthcare worker, which is known as directly observed therapy.

Failure to adhere to the full course of treatment - which lasts between six and nine months - can result in a relapse or the disease becoming drug resistant.

Employers can help by allowing their workers the flexibility to go for these sessions, said the ministry.

It added: "Treatment adherence and completion will benefit not only the patient, but also his family, his workplace and the community."

The number of new tuberculosis cases among Singapore residents has gone up slightly, from 1,420 in 2013 to 1,454 last year.

Last year, there were 137 relapsed cases. Six people also developed multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.