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20 March 2013

SADC countries to fight TB, HIV

Business and civil society must become involved in a push to reduce tuberculosis in the SADC region, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.

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Business and civil society must become involved in a push to reduce tuberculosis in the SADC region, particularly in the mining industry, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said.

"A lot of work has been done, but what is left is co-ordination," said Motsoaledi at a function to mark the 1000 days countdown to reduce tuberculosis and TB/HIV deaths.

The mining industry was grappling with a TB rate three to six times higher than in the general population, and, with HIV/Aids and silicosis forming a "triple cocktail", emphasis would be on aligning the treatment and cure of the disease for employees in that industry, irrespective of which country they were in.

Computerised system

Motsoaledi said plans included a computerised system that would enable a health worker to immediately know at which stage of treatment a patient was at, irrespective of whether they were in Mozambique, Lesotho, or Swaziland, so that treatment stayed in place.

Ministers from the region will meet in Swaziland on Thursday to sign the "Swaziland Statement" committing themselves to his programme.

Motsoaledi said South Africa was aiming to increase its current overall cure rate from around 80% to the global average of 85%. He said that since 2009, 20 million people had been tested for the disease in South Africa.

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