Updated 26 March 2014

Decrease in SA TB deaths

According to Statistics SA progress is being made in reducing the number of deaths due to tuberculosis in South Africa.


Tuberculosis (TB) related deaths have declined by 2%, deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe said.

"Although it has long been acknowledged that the huge burden of disease due to TB infection is the leading cause of death in our country, the latest report by Statistics SA shows that we are beginning to make progress in this regard," he said in a speech prepared for delivery.

Motlanthe was speaking at the 2014 World TB Day in Kokosi near Carletonville, west of Johannesburg on Monday 24 March.

Mineworkers at particularly high risk

He said mineworkers were at particularly high risk of contracting TB because of a convergence of occupational and lifestyle-related risk factors.

These included the high prevalence of silicosis resulting from prolonged exposure to silica dust in mine shafts, accommodation in overcrowded hostels, circular migration between home communities and mine locations, mining-related occupational hazards, high levels of HIV infection and poor access to or usage of routine health services.

Read: How to diagnose TB

The mining industry in South Africa was heavily dependent on migrant workers from rural areas and surrounding countries, with up to 40% of workers migrating annually between South African mines and Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.

"The frequent migratory movement of mineworkers, across provincial and national borders, extends the high risk of contracting TB and multi drug resistant-TB to communities surrounding mines and to the communities from which the workers originate and to which they return," Motlanthe said.

Read more:

TB remains leading killer
World TB Day – why SA can’t shake the disease
Quick tests = fewer TB deaths


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