‘KZN has South Africa’s highest rate of TB’

2014-12-19 17:08

KwaZulu-Natal has the most people infected with TB in South Africa, says provincial health department head Sibongile Zungu.

“Our province is counted as the most affected, together with the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Western Cape,” Zungu said today.

According to statistics from 2013, there were 99 067 cases of TB in the province, of which 6 916 were children under the age of five.

The districts with more than 1 000 cases per 100 000 population were Ugu, eThekwini and uThungulu.

KwaZulu-Natal also had the highest co-infection rate of TB and HIV, which currently stood at 65%.

“We know that the biggest impediment here is the issue of a delay in the diagnosis and treatment of TB in people with HIV.”

Despite the high rate of infection in the province, Zungu said the work done by government, developmental partners and non-governmental organisations was helping reduce the rate of TB infections.

Zungu said statistics showed improvements since 2005.

“The defaulter rate was sitting at 20% compared to where it is now at five percent.”

She attributed the decrease in TB infections to efforts to integrate HIV management and TB treatment.

“Today we recognise that working together we have indeed successfully integrated the TB and HIV services and these are now accessible and available in all 779 KZN public health facilities,” said Zungu.

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