22 September 2015 - NW2906
Dudley, Ms C to ask the Minister of Health
(1)Whether the country is winning the fight against tuberculosis (TB); if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) whether he has found that the current reality with regard to TB indicates that measures currently in place are adequate; if not, (a) what is being done to re-assess the situation urgently and (b) what urgent steps are being taken to bring the situation under control; if so, what are the relevant details in each case; (3) how do these measures compare with best practice in other countries?
1. Yes Honourable Member, the Department has definitely made serious strides in the war against TB. The treatment success was 76% in 2009 and it is 89% now. By 2009 70 000 people were dying of TB per annum but now the figure has dropped to 40 000. However, TB still remains the biggest killer in our country.
2. Yes the measures are doing well but we need to do more to eradicate TB. Hence the President announced in the State of the Nation Address this year that we are going to focus on TB.
The Deputy President launched a massive TB screening campaign on 24 March this year, focusing on high prevalence districts, the mineworkers and the inmates in Correctional Service facilities.
We used to have only 9 centralised treatment centres to treat MDR-TB and XDR-TB. Now we have 298 decentralised sites, 272 satellite sites and 150 injection teams to help decentralise management of MDR-TB and XDR-TB.
We have trained 1 700 nurses to manage MDR-TB and 230 of them can even initiate treatment of MDR-TB in the absence of a doctor.
3. According to Stop TB Partnership, the measures in South Africa are far ahead of many countries, for instance there are 700 patients globally who are on Bedaquiline treatment. A total of 400 of these are in South Africa alone. The remainder is scattered all over the world. We are now putting 3 000 on Bedaquiline this financial year.