United ef­fort to ad­dress TB

Pa­tient aware­ness project well re­ceived in Brei­d­bach

Go! & Express - - News - STAFF RE­PORTER

THE Brei­d­bach Clinic and its com­mit­tee – in sup­port of Bhisho sub district – held a tu­ber­cu­lo­sis (TB) aware­ness cam­paign at the com­mu­nity hall last week with hun­dreds of res­i­dents at­tend­ing the meet­ing.

The meet­ing ad­dressed dan­gers of de­fault­ing on TB treat­ment and to re­quest pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion as to how to safe­guard the com­mu­nity from the multi-drug-re­sis­tance (MDR) virus.

Clinic com­mit­tee chair­per­son Des­mond Coet­zee said the cam­paign idea came about be­cause pa­tients de­faulted on their treat­ment.

MDR is the term given when the bac­te­ria that causes TB de­vel­ops re­sis­tance to the an­timi­cro­bial drugs ad­min­is­tered to pa­tients to treat the dis­ease.

“Dur­ing our board meet­ing the is­sue was brought to our at­ten­tion that the com­mu­nity was fac­ing a ma­jor health chal­lenge, with al­most half of the TB pa­tients de­fault­ing on treat­ment which re­sulted in the MDR virus,” Coet­zee said.

“The danger is that any per­son who gets in con­tact with one of those pa­tients is vul­ner­a­ble to con­tract­ing the life-threat­en­ing virus.”

Among the guests were Acorn Val­ley com­mit­tee leader Calvin de Lange, who acted as pro­gramme di­rec­tor, com­mu­nity spir­i­tual leader Colin Ruiters, Acorn Val­ley ward com­mit­tee and Brei­d­bach Clinic com­mit­tee mem­ber Tully Win­naar, Bhisho health depart­ment pro­moter prac­ti­tioner Sizwe Mgangxa and Brei­d­bach Clinic op­er­a­tional man­ager Yolisa Qamba.

Dur­ing her pre­sen­ta­tion, Qamba said TB was a cur­able and pre­ventable in­fec­tious dis­ease caused by bac­te­ria that spread through the air in small droplets when a per­son with in­fec­tious TB coughed, talked, sang or sneezed.

“When some­one breathes in the bac­te­ria they may be­come in­fected and could de­velop ac­tive TB dis­ease or la­tent TB,” Qamba said. She said the symp­toms of ac­tive TB were var­ied and in­cluded a cough for more than three weeks, high tem­per­a­ture or fever, night sweats, loss of ap­petite, weight loss, ex­treme tired­ness or lack of en­ergy and cough­ing up blood.

Qamba men­tioned that a to­tal of 30 pa­tients were de­fault­ing on their treat­ment which brought sighs of shock among the au­di­ence.

“The rea­sons why MDR con­tin­ues to emerge and spread are mis­man­age­ment of TB treat­ment and per­son-to-per­son trans­mis­sion.

“Most peo­ple with TB are cured by a strictly fol­lowed six-month drug reg­i­men pro­vided to pa­tients with sup­port and su­per­vi­sion,” Qamba added.

“You can­not see TB on some­one, so it is im­per­a­tive to come to the clinic for screen­ing and testing.”

● Mgangxa also an­nounced that the health depart­ment in part­ner­ship with the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion will con­duct a sur­vey on bil­harzia in all schools in King and sur­round­ing ar­eas start­ing from next week.

Bil­harzia, also known as schis­to­so­mi­a­sis, is an in­fec­tion caused by a par­a­sitic worm that lives in fresh wa­ter. A to­tal of 20 pa­tients were also vol­un­tar­ily screened.

Pic­ture: DES­MOND COET­ZEE

AWARE­NESS DAY: Res­i­dents filled the Brei­d­bach Com­mu­nity Hall to at­tend an im­por­tant meet­ing about TB aware­ness or­gan­ised by the Brei­d­bach Clinic last week. Many of the guest speak­ers, among them some from the health depart­ment, stressed the im­por­tance of pa­tients stick­ing to the treat­ment reg­i­men

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