TB is linked with a deadly silicosis epidemic hidden for decades in rural South Africa. Gold mining firms must make amends, says Jaine Roberts.
Across the rural Eastern Cape province in South Africa, up to half of men admitted to hospital withtuberculosis (TB) are former gold miners. This should not be surprising: the incidence of TB among miners is 2,000 cases per 100,000, four times the national incidence.
But researchers rarely ask about occupation when studying the distribution and determinants of illnesses such as TB — and the result here is a hidden epidemic of silicosis-related TB among former gold miners in South Africa.
SOUTH Africa and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) have less than 1,000 days to significantly reduce the impact of the tuberculosis (TB) and HIV co-epidemic in the region to meet the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDG) deadline in 2015.
Sadc health ministers and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) will join a delegation in Mbabane, Swaziland, on Thursday to discuss the co-epidemic as well as its impact on labour in the region’s mining sector.
Organisations at a briefing in Johannesburg on Wednesday committed about $860m to fighting the TB epidemic in Sadc.
The Swaziland meeting will also look to put in motion recommendations in the Sadc declaration on TB in the mining sector, signed last year.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic arrived in sub-Saharan Africa after decades of neglect had left healthcare systems dangerously weak, barely able to cope with the onslaught of patients. Then the money started pouring in - funding for HIV programmes rose from 5.5 percent of health aid in 1998 to nearly half of it almost 10 years later.
The HIV sentinel surveillance data has helped to map the epidemic and monitor HIV infection trends in the country and has served as an advocacy tool, resulting in the mobilization of partners, resources and development of innovative approaches by the national response to HIV and AIDS. The 2011 HIV survey was the 22nd round to be conducted in the country by the Department of Health. The South African antenatal clinic survey is done annually in October to obtain an estimate of the point prevalence for that year. The data set generated from this survey is used by mathematical modelers such WHO/UNAIDS reference group and others to estimate the rate of new HIV infections(incidence) and HIV-associated deaths are derived through mathematical models applied to HIV prevalence estimates.
FACING a growing deficit and political demands to cut spending, the Obama administration is planning to scale back US support for global HIV/AIDS programmes and is pushing to unload some of the burden onto other countries.
The shift comes at exactly the wrong time in the 30-year fight against the virus, activists say.
There are a record 34,2-million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS and the virus killed more than 4000 people a day last year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). In SA alone 18% of those aged 15 to 49 are infected, the data show.
HIV-Aids is an ever-growing challenge in Africa’s rapidly growing cities, where prevalence rates are higher than in rural areas.
While the Aids epidemic is associated more with urban than rural areas in sub-Saharan Africa, the opposite is true of food security. There is a pervasive, and misleading, idea that food insecurity is largely a rural problem affecting rural households.
Considerable attention has been devoted to how the Aids epidemic impacts on smallholder agricultural production and productivity.
Home and community-based care (HCBC) has emerged as a way to provide cost-effective and compassionate care to people living with HIV (PLHIV) and those affected by the epidemic. HCBC organisations provide integrated services which address the basic needs of those infected and affected such as food, shelter, healthcare, protection from abuse and malnutrition. The main objective of the study was to conduct an audit of HCBC organisations in South Africa in order to provide the Government with empirical information on their existence, distribution, services and challenges. The primary approach to this task was to conduct a telephonic audit of organisations rendering HCBC services.
Professor Hoosen Coovadia, a leader in maternal, newborn and child health, said that understanding the underlying social and political problems was key to curbing the tide of the HIV/Aids epidemic.
He said this in a lecture entitled “HIV and Aids and children’s health: What mistakes have we made and how can we create a better future for all children in this country?” at Rhodes recently. It was part of series on HIV/Aids in the post-Mbeki era.
In South Africa the gap between the haves and the have-nots was huge and becoming wider, according to Coovadia, a result of the social conditions in which mothers and children found themselves.
After 30 years and over 20 million deaths in Africa alone, US researchers now report that early treatment of people infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that leads to AIDS cuts transmission of the disease by over 96 per cent. The news has sent shock waves through the medical and scientific world. Unexpectedly announced by the US National Institutes of Health on 12 May after a six-year clinical trial, the discovery that anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) can make people living with HIV far less infectious means that humanity finally has the tools to reverse the global epidemic.
Government's decision to offer free ARV treatment to people with CD4 counts of 350 or less has been welcomed as a life-saver.
The South African government’s announcement that it will give antiretroviral medication to people with HIV who have CD4 counts of below 350 will save lives and prevent infection.
This is according to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which welcomed the announcement made by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on Friday (12 August).
Until Friday, people were only able to get ARVs if their CD4 count was below 200 unless they were pregnant or had tuberculosis.