Gov­ern­ment puts plans in place to curb TB

Vuk'uzenzele - - Youhtehalftohcus - Su­laiman Philip

The Na­TioNal DeParT­meNT of Health is con­duct­ing its first Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis Preva­lence Sur­vey, to help it im­prove the ef­fec­tive­ness of the Na­tional TB Con­trol Pro­gramme.

The na­tional Depart­ment of Health is con­duct­ing its first Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis (TB) Preva­lence Sur­vey to help it im­prove the ef­fec­tive­ness of its na­tional con­trol pro­gramme.

Field­work­ers will visit house­holds to iden­tify pos­si­ble par­tic­i­pants, who will be trans­ported to the clos­est clinic for test­ing and to take part in the sur­vey.

The sur­vey will be­gin in eThek­wini this month and will be rolled out across the coun­try. The coun­try has been di­vided into three zones, de­pend­ing on TB in­fec­tion rates. Gaut­eng and Lim­popo are low; KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and Mpumalanga are medium, and the re­main­ing four prov­inces are con­sid­ered high.

The Preva­lence Sur­vey will give gov­ern­ment a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of where help is needed and what types of help should be con­sid­ered.

Par­tic­i­pa­tion is vol­un­tary and will take about 60 min­utes, in­clud­ing TB screen­ing.

TB is treat­able

Tu­ber­cu­lo­sis or TB is an ill­ness caused a by germ, that mainly af­fects the lungs but can some­times af­fect other parts of the body.

It is spread from per­son to per­son through cough­ing. Some­times you may not even know you are sick.

Com­mu­ni­ties in in­for­mal set­tle­ments, peo­ple liv­ing with HIV or di­a­betes, preg­nant women and chil­dren are most at risk.

Com­mon symp­toms in­clude weight loss, fever, a cough and night sweats, which may seem mild for sev­eral months thus de­lay­ing pa­tients feel­ing the need to seek med­i­cal help.

Treat­ment is a course of four drugs, taken over six months, un­der med­i­cal su­per­vi­sion.

Stop­ping treat­ment, or us­ing the drugs in­cor­rectly, could lead to a drug re­sis­tant strain of TB. Treat­ment of drug re­sis­tant TB re­quires more toxic med­i­ca­tion that may have harm­ful ef­fects on pa­tients.

It is im­por­tant to know that TB is cur­able and free treat­ment is avail­able. If you do have TB, you will re­ceive med­i­ca­tion and as­sis­tance from your near­est clinic.

The mes­sage from the depart­ment is clear: know the symp­toms, get treated, get clear.

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