Frequency of TB cases a concern – health minister

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Malakia Nashongo

Opuwo-Thousands of Namibians flocked to the mountain town of Opuwo last Friday to commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day that was held under the theme  ‘United to End TB.’

World TB Day, which is commemorated on March 24 each year, provides an opportunity to update the nation on new developments regarding TB and to highlight the progress made in the fight against this contagious disease.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Governor of Kunene Region, Angelika Muharukua, Health and Social Services Minister Bernard Haufiku noted that while Namibia continues to register commendable progress in the fight against TB, an alarming high number of cases continue to be reported in the country.

Haufiku emphasised that increased attention and focus need to be paid to address the spread of TB.  “It is important that all those people who have TB are found and be started on treatment as soon as possible,” he said.

In 2016 about 9 000 people were diagnosed with TB.  The Ministry of Health and Social Services is busy rearranging its efforts to address TB alongside all key stakeholders as advocated in the World Health Organisation’s ‘End TB Strategy’ – which aims to end TB by the year 2035.

Speaking at the event former TB patient Lydia Ephraim urged people to take their medication seriously if they are to be cured of TB.

She also urged them to get tested for TB or go to the clinic or hospital if they find themselves coughing for more than two weeks as that is one of the signs of TB.

According to World Health Organisation statistics, TB is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide.  This is mainly due to the combination of TB and HIV. Four in eight people with TB are likely to be HIV positive as well.

• Malakia Nashongo is an information officer working in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Kunene Region.

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