The day is commemorated annually on March 24 to raise public awareness about the health, social and economic consequences of TB.
Globally, TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer, with nearly 4500 people losing their lives to TB per day on average, and close to 30n000 people falling ill with the preventable and curable disease per day on average.
In Cape Town, three people die from TB and 61 people are diagnosed with it every day on average.
Mayoral committee member for health services Zahid Badroodien said City Health was hosting events across the city this month to raise public awareness about TB.
“The national TB programme is committed to finding the ‘missing TB patients’, or people who have TB but have not been diagnosed.
“Interventions will aim to improve case detection and also missed opportunities in public health facilities.
“City Health is supportive of the national Department of Health’s initiatives and is committed to implementing these,” Badroodien said.
Deputy President David Mabuza said at the launch of the TB Prevention Campaign in Amakhosi, Durban, on Friday that the day should “re-energise the world’s response aimed at ending this epidemic that, in fact, can and should be ended”.
“Every leader can show by example that they will not only ask people with TB symptoms to get tested and treated, but we call on every leader to lead by example. If you have symptoms, go and get tested, get treated and tell those in your environment that you have TB and you are on treatment,” Mabuza said.
The World Health Organisation recently launched a joint initiative with StopTB Partnership: Find. Treat. All. #EndTB, with the aim of accelerating awareness about the disease.
Because TB is transmitted through the air to close contacts and these exposed individuals are at higher risk of developing the disease, particularly in the first year, contacts that are particularly at risk are HIV-positive individuals and children under the age of five.
South Africa has adopted global goals and targets to guide its response with the aim of ending TB in 2035.
The TB programme response aims to achieve the national “90-90-90” targets for TB as outlined in the StopTB Partnerships’ Global TB Plan:
– To find 90% of all TB patients and place them on appropriate treatment;
– To find at least 90% of the TB patients in key populations;
– To achieve 90% treatment success for drug-susceptible TB, and 75% for drug-resistant TB.