Mpumalanga is a fraction away from being declared a World Health Organization (WHO) "hot spot" for multi drug-resistant TB.
The prevalence of multi drug-resistant TB among newly diagnosed patients in the province is 2,7%. "This is approaching the WHO "hot spot" level of 3%," warns Premier Thabang Makwetla.
DOTS strategy to be implemented
Addressing the official opening of the Airborne Infection Research Facility in Witbank, he said that from this year, home-based care workers would be trained to implement the DOTS strategy.
DOTS is a strategy to detect and cure TB before it becomes multi drug-resistant. DOTS is an acronym for "directly observed treatment short-course".
TB becomes multi drug-resistant when patients fail to complete their course of drugs.
Makwetla said South Africa is a pioneer country in developing and implementing a standardised treatment regimen for multi drug-resistant TB.
The DOTS-plus programme, which manages multi drug-resistant TB, is already being implemented in the country and is one of the biggest internationally, he said.
TB remains a major killer
TB, or tuberculosis, is a lung disease and remains one of the world's greatest killers. It is spread mainly through the air.
"Lessons learned about TB and the control of the disease can be applied to other airborne diseases like influenza, Sars and smallpox," said Makwetla.
He said the research facility would look at the role of pollutants in the prevalence and spread of disease. – (African Eye News Service)
For more information on care and support of tuberculosis visit South African National TB Association (SANTA) or phone them on 011 454 0260.