DEBATE IN PARLIAMENT’S NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
ON STATEMENT BY MINISTER OF HEALTH ON 2ND GLOBAL TUBERCULOSIS
CAUCUS OF PARLIAMENTARIANS
HON SJ NKOMO, MP
Tuberculosis remains one of the leading causes of death in this country! And we have one of the highest incidences TB prevalence of any country in the world, with rapid increase in TB infections over the last twenty years.
Whilst it is very commendable that the Honourable Minister is taking a leading role at the Global Tuberculosis Caucus, we wish to gently remind him that charity begins at home and that his priority must be the people of South Africa.
Organizations such as SANTA are reporting that the war against tuberculosis is being lost in South Africa and this mainly through poor nutrition of many of more vulnerable communities.
In this regard, feeding schemes require greater government support. Government should also ensure that high risk communities are adequately educated in terms of proper nutrition and TB awareness and prevention campaigns.
Initiatives such as those that have been orchestrated in partnership with the private sector to screen for TB and other preventable diseases must be encouraged so as to ensure as many South Africans as possible know their TB health status.
Medical treatment of those infected must be immediate and correct. Many people are now acquiring drug resistant TB because of inadequate TB treatment. This can be for a number of reasons, including the fact that patients fail to adhere to proper treatment regimes, the wrong drugs are prescribed, or sub-standard drugs are used for treatment.
That TB imposes such triple burden on patients, namely a combination of its devastating health impact, the harsh burden of treatment and the often faced isolation of social exclusion requires a holistic address by our national health programmes.
As TB is most prevalent in South African mining areas and communities as well as correctional service facilities, these are the areas which require immediate and sustained attention.
We can ill afford to get it wrong in terms of both treatment and prevention of this dread disease as the current progress in combatting it remains just too slow. We cannot allow the threat of TB to remain and call for every available resource to be deployed in its eradication from within our borders.
I thank you.
Contact: Ms SJ Nkomo, MP on 076 5531240