by Phumzile Ngwenya and Deirdre Edwards
The United States Agency for International Development (USAid) has pumped R1,8bn into the health ministry to help the fight against tuberculosis(TB) in SA, USAid information officer Reverie Zurba said yesterday.
The money will be used to develop an infrastructure which will alleviate TB infections in all the nine provinces, especially in Eastern Cape and Western Cape, which have the highest rates of infection.
This year 120 000 cases of TB have been reported, and the disease kills about 10 000 people every year, most of them in impoverished rural areas.
The health department and USAid yesterday held a workshop in Ekurhuleni, Benoni, to develop a medium-term plan aimed at improving SA's ability to treat and care for TB patients.
Our vision is to strengthen organisations and build capacity in order to enable the SA public, private sector and nongovernmental institutions to carry out effective, client-orientated basic healthcare services, Zurba said. One of the aims of the development plan was to educate people about TB and remove the stigma attached to victims.
Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said: In addressing TB, we cannot ignore the environmental and socio-economic factors that aggravate the spread of the epidemic.
Also at the workshop was TV personality Gerri Rantseli, who has suffered from TB.
Source: Business Day, 18 July 2001