Namibia’s TB incidence rate among highest in the world

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WINDHOEK, 04 February 2017 - Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services Juliet Kavetuna delivers the keynote address during the World Cancer Day commemoration on Saturday. (Photo by: Joseph Nekaya) NAMPA

Alvine Kapitako

Windhoek-Last year, Namibia was ranked the fifth highest country in the world in terms of tuberculosis (TB) incidence rate, with 9,154 cases of TB recorded.

Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services Juliet Kavetuna revealed this at the launch of the nationwide Tuberculosis Disease Prevalence Survey last Thursday.

“Despite this alarmingly high number of cases, the World Health Organisation estimates that about 30 percent of patients with TB in Namibia go undiagnosed, untreated or unreported,” Kavetuna said.

While World Health Organisation estimates provide a useful basis for planning purposes, it is important to generate accurate data for Namibia in order to adequately inform the TB care and prevention efforts, she said.

She explained that the Tuberculosis Disease Prevalence Survey (DPS) is the best currently known method to accurately determine a country’s true TB disease burden.

She added that the survey would aid government and its development partners to better respond to the country’s TB epidemic and prudently allocate the increasingly scarce but much-needed resources.

Kavetuna further said the survey aims to enroll 34,000 people, aged 15 years and above. These people would be asked about symptoms of TB they may have experienced, as well as have their chest x-rays taken.

“The success of the survey, therefore, hinges on the support of all individuals within these clusters. I urge and encourage all individuals in the selected clusters to participate in the survey,” she said.

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