World Tuberculosis Day
Rising rates contrast sharply with accelerated progress in other regions
Why World TB Day is Important: Statement by Dr Marcos Espinal, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership Secretariat
During the course of World TB Day, more than 5,000 human beings will die from tuberculosis.
Free and effective treatment against tuberculosis (TB) is available to all South Africans, and must be used to curb the rate of infection, Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said. Funding for TB control in South Africa has consistently increased over the years, and the programme is based on the World Health Organisation's recommended DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment Short course) strategy.
t may be curable, but tuberculosis kills 5 000 people and more than 20 000 others are infecte dworldwide every day. It is with this in mind that the World Health Organisation (WHO), the South African Department of Health and International Cricket Council (ICC) have joined forces to launch Hit TB for a 6. The programme forms part of the Stop TB Partnership, a global coalition of 250-member organisations, and is aimed at creating awareness that TB can be cured. According to WHO statistics, SA has the seventh-highest rate of TB infections in the world, with estimated 243 306 in 2001. India is at the top of the list at 2-million infections a year, with China a close second at 1 447 947. Of the 22 high-burden countries which account for 80% of global TB cases, Mozambique has the lowest with 49 342 in 2001. Many of the countries are hard hit by poverty, malnutrition, poor sanitation and overcrowding - all contributing to the spread of TB, which is caused by the bacillus Myobacterium tuberculosis. Untreated, one person with active TB will infect between 10 and 15 people annually. While the disease has been curable for 50 years, a third of the world's population is infected. At last week's launch of the programme, executive director of the ICC Cricket World Cup Dr Ali Bacher said, Cricket could raise awareness about TB and the key barriers for control measures discrimination and fear. This year, SA marks World TB Day on March 24 with high-profile visits to tuberculosis clinics, and a national event in Port Elizabeth.( Source: The Star, 11 March 2003).
South Africa has one of the highest TB rates in the world, and the incidence is increasing, Parliament's Health Portfolio Committee was told. South Africa's current rate is 419 per 100 000 people, which is more than double that in other developing countries. TB rates have doubled in most provinces in the past five years' with projections of a five-fold increase by 2005 to 600 000 cases a year. Dr Karin Weyer, of the Medical Research Council, estimates that South Africa had 273 365 cases last year, of whom 46,7% were HIV-positive. Dr Refiloe Matji, the Department of Health's director of TB control programmes, said South Africa's cure rate of 62 % fell short of the World Health Organisation's standard of 85 %. Also, on Tuesday this week, the South African National Tuberculosis Association appealed to Parliament's health portfolio committee for more funds to combat the increasing tuberculosis rate. Santa said the high HIV/AIDS rate was fuelling the increase of the tuberculosis rate and urged government to implement a strategy that would combat the HIV/AIDS fight along with the tuberculosis epidemic. Staying with news on tuberculosis, World TB Day, which falls on the 24th of March 2001, has adopted the theme DOTS: TB cure for all, which calls for equitable access to TB services for anyone who has TB, free from discrimination - rich or poor, man or woman, adult or child, imprisoned or free, and including other vulnerable groups such as people with HIV or drug resistant TB. TB cure for all contributes to the fulfilment of everyone’s right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health. (Source: Brian Stuart: The Citizen, 21 March 2001; and SAPA, 20 March 2001)
South Africa will join the rest of the world in celebrating World TB Day on March 24 and highlighting problems about multi-drug resistance. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in South Africa Mrs Greer van Zyl all activities will take place under the theme: Dots: TB cure for all. The marking of the day aims to raise awareness about an available cure for TB and the right to access TB treatment and complete the treatment without stigma. This would contribute to the fulfilment of a constitutional right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health. Van Zyl says that the theme reflects the important role of governments and the private sector in providing TB drugs and services and points to the need for health services to be patient- centred and non-discriminatory. She said that Dots providers are challenged to continue outreach and adapt Dots to the needs of TB patients. Dots workers play a crucial role in the community to ensure the right to health for patients. Among factors that influence the incidence of TB are malnutrition, stress and unemployment. (Source: Sowetan, 15 March 2001)