The 5th South African TB conference kicks off later today in Durban. For a number of years, TB has caused millions of deaths across the globe. South Africa is one of the countries with the highest TB burden in the world. Over the next four days, various stakeholders will meet to discuss mitigation strategies, including how to combat the disease.
KwaZulu-Natal continues to carry a high burden of TB with some patients being treated for the multidrug-resistant TB or MDR TB. There have been major advances in TB prevention and care, especially in the six high burden countries India, Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa.
South Africa has become the leader in its test and treat campaign where HIV infected persons are tested for TB as well as vice versa. This year’s conference theme is: “Stepping up strategies and activities to end the TB epidemic once and for all.”
Answering oral questions in the National Assembly earlier this year, Deputy President David Mabuza said TB remains the leading cause of deaths in the country. Government wants to reduce TB by 30% and has intensified its fight against the disease to reach 80 000 people in the 2018/2019 financial year.
“TB is the highest cause of death in the country that is why we have elevated TB and the campaign to sort of try and fight this disease because TB is a curable disease.