Health sector comes together to track progress in confronting TB

Health sector comes together to track progress in confronting TB

Health sector comes together to track progress in confronting TB

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce new Tuberculosis (TB) infections and deaths, the country is hosting the 8th SA TB Conference in Durban.
The gathering is an opportunity to track progress towards achieving the 2025 targets set at the United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting and the 2030 target to end the epidemic in line with the pragmatic End TB Strategy by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 
The conference, said the Department of Health, is being held at the International Convention Centre in KwaZulu-Natal from Tuesday to Friday. The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, is expected to deliver a keynote address to officially open the conference on Tuesday at 3pm.
Globally, TB is still a leading cause of death from a single infectious agent and one of the greatest public health threats in South Africa.  
South Africa remains one of the 30 high-burden TB countries contributing to 87% of the estimated incident cases worldwide. 
“It claims approximately 54 000 lives annually or around 148 lives daily in South Africa,” the department said. 
However, government believes it has made strides to ensure that all people with TB have equitable access to high-quality diagnosis, treatment, care and preventive therapy. 
“Data shows that 56% of TB patients experience catastrophic costs as per a recent WHO survey. These include a rollout of shorter regimens with better drugs for the treatment of drug-resistant TB, and the notable launch of the bedaquiline-pretomanid-linezolid-levofloxacin (BPaL-L) programme.” 
Other innovative interventions include the introduction of targeted universal TB testing regardless of symptoms among high-risk groups, the introduction of SMS notifications for reporting test results, and the use of artificial intelligence such as digital chest X-rays in TB screening and diagnosis. 
The four-day biannual conference is expected to “re-energise the TB community” through in-person interactions between local and international stakeholders consisting of policymakers, academics, researchers, government officials, and members of civil society organisations. 
The conference is being held under the theme: “Accelerating progress to end TB”, which serves as a call for all sectors of society to join hands to prevent avoidable deaths from a preventable and curable disease. 
The meeting will consist of insightful sessions designed to cover diverse aspects of the disease and control discussions. 
These include the TB vaccine, infections in mines, insights and innovations towards ending TB, stigma measurement among people, care services and treatment response in children with presumptive pulmonary TB over six months. 
The panellists will also look at the results of community-based TB services targeting migrant workers in the South of Mozambique. 
The department in collaboration with stakeholders in the sector including the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) is currently implementing the national TB Recovery Plan, which aims to reverse the losses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
The aim is to accelerate efforts towards attaining the National Strategic Plan, UN High-Level Meeting, Sustainable Development Goals and End TB targets will be strengthened. – SAnews.gov.za
 

Gabisile
Tue, 06/04/2024 – 10:05

9 views