TB VICTORY FOR ESWATINI
…Cases drop from 11 059 to 3 226 in seven years
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.
ON THE MIC: Dr Kevin Makadzange delivering his speech during the event.
TEAM: The National TB Prevalence Survey team posing for a group photo.