Mata­bele­land South leads in TB deaths

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Richard Muponde Gwanda Cor­re­spon­dent

MATA­BELE­LAND South province has the high­est num­ber of tu­ber­cu­lo­sis-re­lated deaths in the coun­try.

About 309 peo­ple- a ma­jor­ity of them lo­cals based in South Africa, also named in­jiva, have died of TB be­tween Jan­uary and Septem­ber in the province.

Gwanda Dis­trict Med­i­cal Of­fi­cer, Dr An­drew Felix Muza told stake­hold­ers at the com­mem­o­ra­tions of the be­lated World TB Day held at Stan­more Clinic yes­ter­day, with­out di­vulging sta­tis­tics for other prov­inces, that Mata­bele­land South has the high­est num­ber of TB deaths in the coun­try.

He said about 11 220 sus­pected TB cases were recorded in the same pe­riod in the province while 9 215 were tested and 1 697 treated of the dis­ease.

The deaths, said Dr Muza, have slightly dropped from last year when 433 peo­ple died with 13 133 sus­pected cases be­ing recorded while 11 373 were tested and 2 053 re­ceived treat­ment in the same pe­riod.

“We have recorded multi-drug re­sis­tant TB (MDRTB) with 74 cases be­ing di­ag­nosed last year and 51 re­ceiv­ing treat­ment. This year 72 cases were recorded while 44 were treated,” he said.

“Up to 96 per­cent of TB pa­tients tested HIV pos­i­tive last year with 89 per­cent be­ing en­rolled on anti-retro­vi­ral treat­ment (ART) while this year 94 per­cent tested HIV pos­i­tive with 90 per­cent put on ART,” said Dr Muza.

He said some TB pa­tients die be­fore be­ing di­ag­nosed for treat­ment.

“We want to min­imise deaths as TB is cur­able. We want to work to­gether so that we erad­i­cate it by year 2035. Cur­rently we are hav­ing a prob­lem with the multi-drug re­sis­tant TB that has con­trib­uted to the high rate of deaths as pa­tients die due to late pre­sen­ta­tion to health fa­cil­i­ties and most of th­ese are com­ing from South Africa,” he said.

In a speech read on his be­half by Act­ing Pro­vin­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tor Ms Sthandiwe Nduna -Ncube, the Min­is­ter of Ru­ral Development, Pro­mo­tion and Preser­va­tion of Na­tional Cul­ture and Her­itage, Cde Abed­nico Ncube said TB was a great con­cern in the province and urged peo­ple to unite and end the scourge.

“I’m told the province has the high­est TB deaths in the coun­try. The mag­ni­tude of suf­fer­ing and death caused by TB is both alarm­ing and un­ac­cept­able.

“We have to reach out to all com­mu­ni­ties. We have to find them. You must lead us where they are. Health work­ers must help us find them and put them on treat­ment and en­sure each one of them is cured,” said Cde Ncube.

He said the emer­gence of MDRTB posed yet an­other big chal­lenge for the province as the treat­ment was not read­ily avail­able and ex­pen­sive.

The com­mem­o­ra­tions were held un­der the theme ‘’United to End TB.” — @ richardmuponde

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