SA TB rate unacceptable: Nehawu

2010-03-24 13:27

IT IS unacceptable that South Africa was ninth among countries with the highest tuberculosis rates in the world, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union said today.

“The union calls on all South Africans to stand together to fight TB and also ensure that those who are infected by TB are given the necessary support,” spokesman Sizwe Pamla said in a statement.

He said TB was “the leading killer disease” in South Africa and the main cause of death for those living with HIV/Aids.

This was according to the union’s research unit which works with organisations such as the Red Cross and the United Nations in the fight against HIV/Aids and TB.

“South Africa has the highest percentage (28 percent) of people who live with both HIV and TB in the world.”

Government’s focus has rightly been on HIV/Aids, Pamla said, but more work was needed around raising awareness of TB and the fact that it was treatable.

“With TB, people get tested and treated but they don’t continue their treatment for the prescribed time. As soon as they begin feeling better, they stop [treatment],” he said.

This was a problem needing attention by government in the form of awareness campaigns.

Nehawu partnered with the health department and the Ingquza Hill Municipality on a door to door campaign in the Eastern Cape to raise awareness about TB to celebrate World TB Day.

The initiative commenced yesterday and continued today. – Sapa

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