Tuberculosis survivors celebrated TB Week for the first time last week during an event organised by the Health Department at the Solomon Tshuku Hall in Site C last Thursday.
About 25 survivors who attended the event were honoured by the department with certificates. They came from areas like Khayelitsha, Philippi and Mitchell’s Plain.
James Kruger, the department’s Director of HIV, TB and STI, described the event as the first of its kind.
“We are celebrating TB Week, TB Day falls on 24 March, a Saturday.
We decided to celebrate for the whole week. This is how we show our gratitude and appreciation to our clients. We thank them for supporting and listening to us during difficult times,” Kruger said.
He added that there were about 65 TB survivors.
Kruger said it takes a lot for someone from a disadvantaged community to finish the treatment in seven months.
“It’s quite tough if you drink pills everyday, sometimes you might not have food. So if you take that into consideration, maybe the time is now to say thank you to them,” he said.
He emphasised that the event was also organised in other districts in the province.
“There are about 30 000 clients on treatment in the province. And about 85% of them are healed because they commit to their treatment.
In the past, they used to take about eight pills a day, but now they take only four pills,” he said.
Kruger said TB is likely to target people staying in congested areas like informal settlements.
“Most people likely to suffer from TB are those from disadvantage areas like informal areas, because they are congested and most of their houses have no ventilators.” He emphasised that TB affects everyone regardless of colour.
Pumla Appie,51, from Philippi said she took treatment for two years.
“I started in 2014 util 2016. I couldn’t eat. I used to vomit when eating but I pushed myself and got used to them,” she said, advising patients to stick to treatment.