South Africa one of 30 high TB-burdened countries

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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 World Tuberculosis (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.”


Meanwhile, Aids activists disrupted the commemoration in Rustenburg, demanding that North West Premier Bushy Maape apologise for missing a meeting on Thursday.

People Living with HIV (PLHIV) interrupted Maape’s speech. Chairperson of the PLHIV, Mluleki Zazini, says they will not tolerate disrespect.

”We were told on the 11th hour after engaging with your office Premier, that you are not coming. You are in Mahikeng. We felt very disrespected as people living with HIV. This is Human Rights month and we said as the voice of people living with HIV in this country, we can’t accept that and we demand an apology Premier. You must lead by example and you must stop calling us people living with HIV Aids people. We are not AIDS, people’s identities,” says Mluleki.

Upward trend

The TB Response Plan in Western Cape is showing an upward trend as services return to normal following Covid-19. Provincial Health MEC, Dr. NomaFrench Mbombo, says the combating of Tuberculosis is still a high priority for the province. She says the Western Cape is making progress to prevent TB infections with its pro-active response plan initiated two years ago.

Mbombo says over 290 000 people have tested for the lung disease over the past few months. She says there has also been a decrease in the TB positivity rate which stands at 14.9% in the province.