Experts and Business Leaders Discuss Strategy to Tackle TB in South Africa

by Medindia Content Team on Sep 3 2007 3:26 PM

Tuberculosis experts recently met with South African business leaders in Nelson Mandela Bay in the country's Eastern Cape province to discuss how to increase awareness of the disease and reinforce TB control programs in communities and workplaces, the Herald reports. The meeting was organized by the South African Department of Health, the University Research Corporation and USAID.

The meeting was held in response to the increasing number of TB cases being recorded in the Nelson Mandela Bay area, according to the SAPA/Independent Online. The National TB Crisis Plan recently ranked the Eastern Cape second-highest in the country in terms of the number of people admitted to hospitals and its low TB treatment success rate, the SAPA/Independent Online.

In the Nelson Mandela Bay area, about 250 people are admitted to Livingstone and Dora Nginza hospitals monthly, SAPA/Independent Online reports. In addition, more than 200 people with new cases of multi-drug resistant TB are admitted to Jose Pearson Hospital, near Port Elizabeth, monthly, Lulamile Jamjam, chief executive officer of the Port Elizabeth Hospital Complex, said.

At the briefing, Refiloe Matji, head of URC, described how the corporation could provide TB support in the workplace. "The URC's main focus has been improving the skills and knowledge of health care workers and building better health management systems in the public sector," she said. Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Nondumiso Maphazi said people need to learn about TB in a familiar language.

Alex Govender, head of corporate health and safety services at Volkswagen South Africa, said HIV/TB coinfection also needs to be addressed. "TB is a critical public health problem, but it is also a social issue," Lindiwe Mvusi, head of the National TB Control Program, said, adding, "We will not get this epidemic under control without strengthening our health systems".

Source-Kaiser Family Foundation