SANAC concerned that TB remains number one killer in SA

Reading Time: 2 minutes

 The South African National AIDS Council, SANAC, says it is concerned that Tuberculosis (TB) remains the number one killer in South Africa, despite it being a curable disease.

Speaking during the World TB Day marked on Friday, Sanac CEO, Dr. Thembisile Xulu, said that one of the major challenges faced by this country is that of TB patients not completing their treatment as well as those that go missing once they have started treatment.

“TB is a curable disease, so it’s quite concerning that it continues to be the number one killer in South Africa but also that it’s the number one killer of people living with HIV. We have a high number of individuals that have got HIV and TB, and the co-infection of the combination actually has a worse impact in terms of the immune system- and therefore can be a high cause of mortality. We also find that we have a high number of patients who don’t exhibit any symptoms. It’s only when you do the x-ray that you pick it up- and therefore, when those patients get sick with TB- they might not be detected, and that also contributes to the mortality.”

Meanwhile, Deputy President Paul Mashatile says it is concerning that South Africa is among the top 30 countries still burdened with the scourge of TB. Mashatile was speaking during TB Day commemorations at Rustenburg’s Tlhabane Stadium on Friday.

Mashatile also launched the National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB, and sexually transmitted infections. Mashatile says it is not okay that South Africa accounts for the highest TB and HIV infections globally.

“We should bear in mind that our country is most off track in terms of attaining the said TB targets including those related to the 2018 UN high-level meeting on TB. It is concerning that the last SA TB prevalence survey positioned our country as one of the 30 high TB-burdened countries, accounting for 87% of the burden. It is one of the ten countries with the triple burden of TB, HIV, and MDR TB.”