KwaZulu-Natal launched an accelerated TB prevention campaign at J. L. Dube Stadium in Inanda, Durban on 15 March 2019 with TB Ambassadors and Amakhosi. The campaign seeks to mobilise traditional leaders, TB Ambassadors and the whole nation to join the national effort of finding missing TB patients and link them to care.
This initiative is also in line with a commitment made by Heads of State and Government in the first ever High Level Meeting on TB that took place in September 2018 at the United Nations in New York, USA. In that meeting, the Heads of State and Government took a decision that countries must collectively trace 4 million people infected with TB but not on treatment.
Each country has its share of the missing 4 million and South Africa’s share is 160 000.
In South Africa, approximately 15-20% of all TB reported cases are children, and it is among the top five underlying causes of death in children under 5 years of age. KwaZulu-Natal has the greatest TB and HIV burden in the country.
As a response, South Africa has decided to trace and find at least 80 000 by December 2020 as part of its national efforts.
The launch in KwaZulu-Natal also served as a build up to the national World TB Day commemoration, which will be held during a church service on Sunday, 24 March in the Western Cape, and the main commemoration on 28 March in the Eastern Cape.
The World TB Day this year will be commemorated under the theme: IT’S TIME! For Religious Leaders, Parliamentarians and Legislators to Lead the Fight to End TB in South Africa.
SANAC Chairperson, Deputy President David Mabuza led the launch; he was accompanied by Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, KwaZulu-Natal Acting Premier, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, KZN MEC for Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, EThekwini Mayor, Cllr Zandile Gumede, Amakhosi and TB Ambassadors. Prior to the formal event, all the above leaders made household visits with TB patients and encouraged family members to be screened and tested for TB.
All family members confirmed with TB were urgently referred to healthcare facilities closest to them for immediate initiation on treatment. This was followed by the main community event where the Provincial Turnaround Plan was tabled and the Deputy President formally launched the TB Prevention Campaign.