TB cam­paign to curb soar­ing in­fec­tion rates

Sunday Express - - NEWS - Lim­pho Sello

The Min­istry of health is set to launch a cam­paign to curb the soar­ing rates of Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis (Tb) in­fec­tions which have made Le­sotho sec­ond only to swazi­land in the world.

speak­ing dur­ing World Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis Day com­mem­o­ra­tions held on Tues­day, the Min­istry of health’s Na­tional Tb Pro­gramme Manager, Llang Maama, said the dis­ease’s preva­lence rates and deaths con­tin­ued to soar in Le­sotho.

she said the preva­lence had leaped from 630 peo­ple over a 100 000 pop­u­la­tion to 916 over 100 000 de­spite ini­tia­tives and sup­port from the in­ter­na­tional health or­gan­i­sa­tions to stem the tide.

“hIV co-in­fec­tion among Tb pa­tients in Le­sotho is 74 per­cent, com­pared with the global bur­den of 70 per­cent. at a global level, 5.5 mil­lion peo­ple living with hIV were screened for Tb and only 0.6 mil­lion were en­rolled on Iso­ni­azid Pre­ven­tive Ther­apy (IPT).

This means that global and na­tional ef­forts have to be beefed up to im­prove the cur­rent per­for­mance,” Dr Maama said.

she said the min­istry’s ini­tia­tive dubbed, Na­tional Com­mu­nity Dia­logue, is meant to en­cour­age the par­tic­i­pa­tion of com­mu­nity mem­bers in the de­tec­tion and sup­port of Tb pa­tients.

“It is en­vis­aged that com­mu­nity struc­tures can im­prove the cur­rent state of af­fairs and help bridge the cur­rent per­for­mance gap of 50 per­cent case de­tec­tion, as per the 2014 World health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WhO) Tb re­port,” Dr Maama said.

she added that it was crit­i­cal for the min­istry to de­velop guide­lines on how to en­gage and strengthen in­volve­ment of civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions and strengthen com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion at all lev­els of im­ple­men­ta­tion.

Dr Maama said some of strate­gies to be im­ple­mented by the min­istry in the ini­tia­tive would in­clude door-to-door Tb and hIV cam­paigns, im­prov­ing ac­ces­si­bil­ity and avail­abil­ity to ser­vices and curb­ing Tb in­fec­tions and trans­mis­sions.

“There is a decline in TB no­ti­fi­ca­tions, hence the need for Le­sotho to con­duct Tb a preva­lence sur­vey and an­swer the global call to de­tect Tb cases, treat and cure it,” she said.

The min­istry, she said, would also strive to­wards a 100 per­cent ac­cess of an­tiretro­vi­ral drugs among hIV co-in­fected Tb pa­tients “as op­posed to the cur­rent 70 per­cent”.

held on 24 March ev­ery year, World Tb Day com­mem­o­ra­tions are meant to build public aware­ness about the epi­demic and high­light ef­forts to­wards elim­i­nat­ing the dis­ease.

The 24th of March is also the date, in 1882, when Ger­man physi­cist Robert koch an­nounced his dis­cov­ery of My­cobac­terium tu­ber­cu­lo­sis, the bacil­lus that causes tu­ber­cu­lo­sis (Tb), mark­ing a turn­ing point in di­ag­nos­ing and cur­ing the dis­ease.

QaCha’s Nek — Po­lice in Qacha’s Nek are look­ing for a Mafeteng se­cu­rity guard who al­legedly ab­ducted a 16-year-old girl. ac­cord­ing to Qacha’s Nek Dis­trict Po­lice Com­mis­sioner, se­nior su­per­in­ten­dent hlalele Ram­pai, the girl who stays with her 64-year-old grand­mother, was last seen on 20 March.

“her mother came to re­port on sun­day that she re­ceived a call from a woman say­ing her daugh­ter is with them and she should not be wor­ried. she was last seen last Fri­day when she was at­tend­ing a sports event at her school. When she did not come back home on Fri­day, her grand­mother as­sumed she had vis­ited rel­a­tives. On satur­day her mother sent her son to their rel­a­tives who told them the girl never came to their place. The woman then re­ceived a call from a woman who told her that her daugh­ter had eloped with their son,” snr supt Ram­pai said.

“The woman went to the po­lice to re­port and she even called the phone while at the po­lice sta­tion. The phone was an­swered by the man who gave the phone to her daugh­ter. The girl told her mother that she should not worry as she is fine. The sus­pect is sus­pected to be a se­cu­rity guard based in Qacha’s Nek though his na­tive home is Mafeteng.”

snr supt Ram­pai said it was il­le­gal to elope with a mi­nor even if she had con­sented.

“The sus­pect has bro­ken the law and is go­ing to be charged. The girl is still young and the sus­pect will be charged be­fore the court be­cause the girl is un­der age,” he added.

Mean­while, vil­lagers in Lekha­long la baeti in Qacha’s Nek and Matatiele in south africa have elected com­mit­tee mem­bers to fight the in­creas­ing cross­bor­der stock theft in the ar­eas.

TB is a se­ri­ous but cur­able in­fec­tious dis­ease which nor­mally af­fects the lungs

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