Tutus donate scanners

2016-03-31 06:00
Leah Tutu (right) of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, handing over 10 ECG to Dr Giovanni Perez, Chief Director, Metro District Health Services (MDHS) and Dr Tracey Naledi, chief director for Health Programs during the World TB Day, at Scout Hall, in Gugulethu, on Thursday.

Leah Tutu (right) of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, handing over 10 ECG to Dr Giovanni Perez, Chief Director, Metro District Health Services (MDHS) and Dr Tracey Naledi, chief director for Health Programs during the World TB Day, at Scout Hall, in Gugulethu, on Thursday.

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TB is recognised as the number one killer in the country, and to highlight the seriousness of the disease the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation donated Ten Electrocardiogram machines scanners recently.

The event was held at the Gugulethu Scout Hall in NY79 last Thursday.

This year’s International World Tuberculosis Day (WTBD) was commemorated under the theme “Unite to end TB”.

The ECG scans are designed to monitor the function of the heart, while patients are on the medication to end TB.

A statment released by the provincial health department indicates that South Africa has the sixth highest TB prevalence in the world, But the country is number One when adjusted for the population size, and is one of the 22 high burden countries that contribute approximately 80% of the total global burden of all TB cases.

The event also saw dozens of residents testing for TB and HIV/Aids on the day.

Razaan Bailey, programme manager for Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, said ECG will help in finding a solution to treat TB.

“TB is the number one killer in South Africa. 73 percent of people who are HIV positive also suffer from TB. The archbishop (Desmond Tutu) also had TB when he was young and he spent a year in hospital undergoing treatment. It is important that TB patients take treatment as needed,” Bailey said.

In 2014, the Medicines Control Council (MCC) of South Africa approved the use of Bedaquiline (medication) for the treatment of certain types of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (DRTB).

A possible serious side effect relating to Bedaquilline use is abnormal heart rhythm.

Although this is an uncommon side effect according to the studies, it is still recommended that medical practitioners monitor this by doing a monthly ECG scan to monitor the function of the heart, while patients are on this medication.

Dr Jennie Morgan, a family physician at the Gugulethu Clinic, said the ECG will make it easy for them to monitor the side effects of the medication within five minutes.

“It is important for residents to check for TB and stop the spread. It is true that Cape Town is leading when it comes to TB infections in the country. Add the fact that in informal settlements, people live closer to each other and there is a lack of ventilation,” Dr Morgan said.

Nelisa Gagayi, 31, came in to check her TB status on the day. “I am here to test for TB, because I heard that it is rife in the country. I want to protect my children from getting infected in case I am diagnosed with it. It is important that people know their TB status,” Gagayi said. She also said her elder sister, Nosiphiwo Gagayi, was diagnosed with TB and she had since been cured from it.

The latest statistics show that 9.5% of TB clients defaulted on treatment, which is an increase of approximately 1% from the previous year.

The statement also said in 2015 a new strategy, known as ’90 90 90’ was adopted by many countries, including South Africa. The aim is that by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their status, 90% of those eligible for treatment with ART will be on sustained treatment, and 90% of people on ART will have suppressed viral loads.

The strategy has also been adapted for TB, so that by 2020, 90% of vulnerable groups should have been screened for TB, 90% of people with TB should be diagnosed and started on treatment, and 90% of those treated for TB should be cured.

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