Matabeleland South leads in TB deaths
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