…Cases drop from 11 059 to 3 226 in seven years

Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS - By Si­fiso Nh­la­batsi

TUBERCUL0SIS (TB) no­ti­fi­ca­tion in the coun­try is con­sis­tently de­clin­ing over the years.

This is all thanks to govern­ment and other stake­hold­ers who con­tinue to im­ple­ment new mea­sures to al­le­vi­ate the scourge.

This was re­vealed by the Di­rec­tor of Health Ser­vices Dr Vusi Ma­g­a­g­ula yes­ter­day at Esi­bayeni Lodge dur­ing the TB preva­lence sur­vey com­mis­sion­ing event.

Ma­g­a­g­ula said TB con­tin­ued to be the num­ber one cause of death world­wide. He said govern­ment over the years fought im­mensely to end this killer disease.

Ma­g­a­g­ula said a num­ber of TB con­trol ac­tiv­i­ties had been im­ple­mented over the past years. These in­cluded aware­ness to cre­ate de­mand for TB ser­vices by the pub­lic; im­proved di­ag­nos­tic tech­nolo­gies al­low­ing early di­ag­no­sis of TB; pro­vi­sion of qual­ity anti-TB drugs and free treat­ment for all in pub­lic and pri­vate health fa­cil­i­ties; pro­vi­sion of iso­la­tion for drug re­sis­tant TB as well as de­cen­tral­i­sa­tion of TB ser­vices even to com­mu­ni­ties.

He said TB screen­ing and sam­ple col­lec­tion was now done through the ac­tive case fin­ders.

Ma­g­a­g­ula said with all these ac­tiv­i­ties be­ing im­ple­mented, the coun­try has seen a con­sis­tent de­cline in TB no­ti­fi­ca­tion over the years from 11 059 in 2010 to 3 226 in 2017.

He said one im­por­tant ac­tiv­ity di­rected to­wards un­der­stand­ing the TB bur­den in the coun­try and ver­i­fy­ing this de­cline, the min­istry of health, through the Na­tional TB Con­trol Pro­gramme (NTCP), would con­duct a TB preva­lence sur­vey.

Speak­ing about the sur­vey com­mis­sioned yes­ter­day, Ma­g­a­g­ula said this would pro­vide a more ac­cu­rate pic­ture of the true bur­den of TB disease in the coun­try.


It would as­sist with in­for­ma­tion to bet­ter un­der­stand where peo­ple get as­sis­tance when they have symp­toms.

He fur­ther added that the min­istry of health, through NTCP, with the as­sis­tance of the min­istry’s part­ners, would con­duct the 2018/2019 Na­tional TB preva­lence sur­vey.

In­for­ma­tion gath­ered from this sur­vey would play a ma­jor role in as­sess­ing and plan­ning for TB ser­vices in the coun­try.

When of­fi­cially launch­ing the TB preva­lence sur­vey, World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dr Tigest Ket­sela Mengestu, who was rep­re­sented by WHO Health Pro­mo­tions Of­fi­cer Dr Kevin Makadzange, said they were con­vinced that un­der­tak­ing the sur­vey re­flected the com­mit­ment of govern­ment to ini­ti­ate fur­ther changes both in the de­vel­op­ment of pol­icy and in­sti­tu­tional frame­works and in mak­ing in­vest­ments to end tu­ber­cu­lo­sis.

She said it was, there­fore, WHO’s hope that this large na­tional sur­vey tar­get­ing 42 000 peo­ple and de­signed fol­low­ing the lat­est guide­lines of the global task force on TB preva­lence sur­veys of WHO would pro­vide all the an­swers they seek.

She recog­nised the sur­vey teams and urged them to com­mit them­selves fully to the task that lies ahead.

The qual­ity of the ev­i­dence gen­er­ated by the sur­vey de­pended on the pro­cesses fol­lowed to gather and an­a­lyse the data. “Fol­low norms and stan­dards for good re­search prac­tice.

It is also my hope that the sur­vey will gen­er­ate other re­search, ques­tions and trig­ger more re­search in­clud­ing op­er­a­tional re­search,” he stated.

He added that more re­search in the ba­sic science of TB would be re­quired lead­ing to the de­vel­op­ment of new di­ag­nos­tics, drugs and vac­cines.

Re­search to­wards in­no­va­tive strate­gic ap­proaches to TB preven­tion and care, re­search to bet­ter un­der­stand the so­cio-be­havioural fac­tors in­flu­enc­ing health re­lated prac­tices of TB pa­tients, care­givers and health work­ers is re­quired. It is also cru­cial to un­der­stand the so­cial de­ter­mi­nants of TB, in­ter­sec­toral ac­tion for TB preven­tion and con­trol as well as health sys­tem changes nec­es­sary to achieve univer­sal health cov­er­age for TB af­fected com­mu­ni­ties.

IN NUM­BERS: A Sec­tion of those who at­tended the launch.

(Pics: Si­fiso Nh­la­batsi)

ON THE MIC: Dr Kevin Makadzange de­liv­er­ing his speech dur­ing the event.

TEAM: The Na­tional TB Preva­lence Sur­vey team pos­ing for a group photo.

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