Home News Health dept sets sights on TB and HIV in NC

Health dept sets sights on TB and HIV in NC

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The MEC for the Department of Health, Maruping Lekwene, believes that the tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/Aids rates in the province have escalated due to a halt in the testing and screening of patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Deputy President, David Mabuza. Picture: Soraya Crowie

THE MEC for the Department of Health, Maruping Lekwene, believes that the tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/Aids rates in the province have escalated due to a halt in the testing and screening of patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking on the sidelines of the deputy president and chairperson of the South African National Aids Council (Sanac), David Mabuza’s visit to the Province this week, Lekwene stated that no matter how low, any rate of infection among communities and at mining operations was worrying.

The Department of Health did not provide the current rate of infections.

Lekwene stated that the goal set by Mabuza to test and screen 25,000 people in the next three months, would be attained through the use of mobile clinics in far lying areas and to encourage patients to test at local clinics.

“Many people who have been infected do not present themselves for testing while treatment is available.”

Mabuza commemorated World TB Day in Barkly West on Thursday to highlight the devastating health, social and economic impact of the disease, where TB remains the leading cause of death in South Africa.

The delegation also met with inter-faith traditional leaders and Khoisan leaders as well as Ekapa Mine officials this week.

Mabuza indicated that while mine workers contributed to the wealth of mine owners, they were at risk of contracting TB on the job while they were not provided with any support or compensation.

“Miners who contract TB become the responsibility of the Department of Health who is then left with the burden of providing healthcare services.”

He also warned that while Covid-19 regulations were being relaxed, the pandemic was far from over.

“We are focusing efforts in the fight against the triple threat – TB, HIV/Aids and Covid-19 as screening for TB/HIV/Aids took a back seat and it is time to catch up. It is time to stop talking in boardrooms and be on the ground to screen and test. People are dying of these diseases due to ignorance.”

He stated that they would sign a pledge with mining, private and inter-faith sectors to ensure that all employees knew their status and remained healthy.

“We are rolling out outreach programmes in all the provinces and are also encountering numerous social ills, including teenage pregnancy, gender based violence, that is facilitating the spread of HIV/Aids.

“We must partner with traditional leaders to stand up against the scourge of women abuse . . . we cannot allow society to disintegrate.”

Mabuza encouraged South African citizens not to become xenophobic.

“All undocumented foreigners will be taken back to their country. South Africans should not take the law into their own hands.”

Deputy President, David Mabuza with CEO of Ekhapa Mines, Jahn Hohne after the TB and HIV screening campaign. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Northern Cape Premier, Zamani Saul with Deputy President, David Mabuza at the Ekhapa Mine as part of the TB and HIV screening campaign. Picture: Soraya Crowie
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