Durban — The Department of Health in KwaZulu-Natal has reminded patients to be consistent and finish their tuberculosis medication. This, as World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is observed annually on March 24.
According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, World TB Day is a day to educate the public about the impact of TB around the world.
In one of its programmes, the Department of Health’s Sister J L Mlotshwa, an operational manager at the Richmond District Hospital, said it is crucial to finish the medication for TB in record time.
She said there were cases where a patient would need to take their medication for six months, 9 months, or 24 months.
“It is important that you follow these instructions, even if you are feeling better. The type of bacteria that causes TB is stubborn, so you must be consistent with your medication,” said Mlotshwa.
She said to know that you have been cured, a health facility would need to take a patient’s mucus specimen and have it tested in a laboratory. However, patients should first finish their course of medicine.
Moreover, she said new mothers who are breastfeeding should not stop taking their TB medication.
“The medication does not affect the baby,” explained Mlotshwa.
She added that there was no need to stop breastfeeding if you are diagnosed with TB as the medication does not cause harm to the baby. A local TB survivor who got it from the mines, Johan Gumbi, said if he did not follow doctors' orders and finished his medication, he was not going to make it.
“I received the medication and the doctors told me to cover up when I’m coughing and not direct it at people. They also told me that I would have to eat certain food. I agreed to everything my doctor told me because I wanted to live and be healthy,” said Gumbi.