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Survey to give insight on TB’s true burden

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As part of government’s plans to reduce tuberculosis (TB) deaths by 95% by 2035‚ Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Thursday launch South Africa’s first National TB Prevalence Survey.

The Presidency on Tuesday released the address he is to give on World TB Day in Lephalale in Limpopo.

Ramaphosa said that SA “ranks among the 22 high burden countries that collectively contribute approximately 80% of the total global burden of all TB cases”‚ but noted that “to date‚ we have relied on estimates provided by the World Health Organization (WHO)”.

“It is important that as a country we know the true burden of TB in South Africa so that we can deploy the appropriate level of resources required for an effective response‚” he said.

“Accurate data will enable us to better measure our performance as we respond to the epidemic.”

The National TB Prevalence Survey is to be undertaken by the Department of Health‚ supported by the South African Medical Research Council and the Human Sciences Research Council.

“We expect the survey to be concluded within two years‚ and look forward to getting a truer indication of our TB burden‚” said Ramaphosa‚ adding that the WHO suggested such surveys be conducted every five years.

He also said that government‚ “with support from technical partners‚ conducted investment cases for TB and HIV which aimed to investigate exactly what we need to do to stop TB and HIV infections and mortality”. “This includes continuing with our active case-finding campaign‚ doing better at screening people at the highest risk of TB‚ and diagnosing and treating 90% of all TB cases‚” Ramaphosa said.

“If we do this‚ we can reduce TB deaths by 35% by 2020 and by 95% by 2035. We can reduce incidence by 20% in 2020 and by 90% in 2035.

“These are the 90-90-90 targets – which mean that we need to test at least 90% of those most vulnerable to these diseases; treat at least 90% of those found to have these diseases; and ensure that 90% of those with TB are cured and that at least 90% of those with HIV are virally suppressed.

“These interventions will therefore massively reduce both the burden of TB in South Africa and‚ in the long run‚ the amount of money spent on diagnosis and treatment. In short‚ these investment cases found that by achieving three key targets we can significantly reduce the burden of TB and HIV.”

[Source: Times Live]
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