Do you know the number of South African’s infected with Tuberculosis? Would you recognise the classic symptoms of TB - apart from a cough? Are you aware of the best way to prevent the spread of TB infection or how TB is diagnosed or treated?
If you don’t know, maybe you should “Care to Know”. This is the message being communicated by Lancet Laboratories during their health education campaign to mark World TB Day, recognised globally on 24 March 2012. While most South Africans are aware of the HIV/Aids epidemic plaguing the country, the impact of TB is less known or understood. “Empowering the public with information about TB in a simple and accessible format was the force behind launching our Care to Know campaign,” said Dr Keshree Pillay, Microbiologist at Lancet Laboratories.
“All South Africans have a responsibility to know the basics when it comes to TB health education. The more people who are armed with knowledge, the greater the potential to reduce the spread of disease as well as the incidence of serious TB-related morbidity and mortality,” said Dr Pillay.
Thousands diagnosed with TB
Over 400 000 South Africans are diagnosed with TB each year, with many more undiagnosed. In fact, as a result of the high number of South Africans living with HIV and their susceptibility to developing TB infection–50 times more likely than those who are not HIV positive–TB is actually the leading cause of death nationwide 2, 3.
Lancet’s Care to Know campaign aims to raise awareness about the seriousness of TB in South Africa, and encourages the public to visit www.lancetcares.co.za. Here consumers can learn about the symptoms of TB, how the disease is diagnosed, available treatment and how to prevent the spread of disease if you are infected.
In addition, you can download the free campaign poster or watch the Care to Know video, which is also accessible on YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Txg6eHPMo-s.
Lancet ensures safety of its staff
If people are concerned that they may have been exposed to TB or know someone who might have TB, they can take the online questionnaire which will help them to identify some of the classic symptoms. For those who complete the online questionnaire and have any of the symptoms, the website encourages them to seek medical advice.
When it comes to TB diagnostics, Lancet can be considered leaders in this field. Lancet is committed to fighting TB by providing rapid TB diagnostic methods, including one endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO). In 2010, Lancet launched the Cepheid GeneXpert MTB/RIF, a best in class rapid TB test. Endorsed by the WHO, this test can provide an accurate, diagnosis of TB within 24 hours on receipt of the sample at the lab. It can also be used to test for MDR-TB.
Lancet has also recently upgraded its TB laboratory facilities to a Pathogen 3 (P3) status to ensure a safe working environment for all staff.
Care about SA public
“As one of the country’s leading private pathology laboratories we want Lancet’s Care to Know campaign to demonstrate that we’re more than just a laboratory. We care about the South African public and want to help them achieve their greatest health potential,” said Dr Pillay.
For more information on Lancet’s Care to Know campaign, please visit www.lancetcares.co.za or call our toll free customer service number on 0800LANCET (0800 526 238).
1. World Health Organisation, 2009. Tuberculosis Profile: South Africa. [Online] Availableat:http://www.doh.gov.za/docs/stats/2011/SouthAfricanTuberculosisProfile2011WHO.pdf
2. World Health Organisation. Frequently asked questions about TB and HIV. [Online] Available at: http://www.who.int/tb/hiv/faq/en/ [Accessed March 2012]
3. Statistics South Africa (2008, October), 'Mortality and causes of death in South Africa, 2006: Findings from death notification' [Online] Available at: http://www.statssa.gov.za/Publications/P03093/P030932006.pdf
About Lancet Laboratories
Lancet Laboratories (www.lancet.co.za) is one of the leading pathology laboratories operating throughout Africa, providing vital diagnostic and monitoring pathology services in South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Committed to providing diagnostic excellence, Lancet Laboratories is SANAS accredited, adhering to international criteria set out according to ISO Standard 15189.
Lancet operates in the private healthcare environment and offers specialist pathology services for the corporate, insurance and mining sectors. We process up to 1.8 million tests per month and offer an extensive range of pathology services, from sophisticated molecular and cytogenetic investigations to advanced chemical analyses.
Lancet is owned as a traditional medical partnership, where pathologists provide a professional diagnostic pathology service and are also shareholders in the business. More than eighty specialist pathologists, each with their area of expertise, lead the service, not only to ensure the quality and validity of investigations, but also to offer consultative services to physicians, managed healthcare institutions, the occupational health environment and the insurance and industry sectors.
(Press release, March 2012)
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