IN QUOTES | David Mabuza calls on men to get tested for TB to prevent further spread

25 March 2021 - 07:12
By cebelihle bhengu AND Cebelihle Bhengu
Deputy president David Mabuza. File picture.
Image: GCIS Deputy president David Mabuza. File picture.

Deputy president David Mabuza has called on men to get tested for tuberculosis. He said this will help protect their families and prevent any further spread of the disease.

Mabuza cited the results from the latest TB Prevalence Survey Report which he said showed the infectious bacterial disease was “1.6 times higher in men compared to women” in the country.

The deputy president delivered a keynote address on Wednesday to commemorate World TB Day in Mpumalanga, Mbombela.

Here are six  quotes from his address:

Progress in the provision of treatment

“The number of people provided with TB preventive treatment has quadrupled since 2015 from 1 million to over 4 million in 2019. There's tremendous progress. We need to consolidate and build on these achievements to enhance equitable access to quality and timely diagnosis, prevention and care.”

Screening slowed at height of Covid-19 pandemic

“To some extent, national lockdowns and restrictions of movement contributed to the disruption of access to health services and the reduction in the number of TB detections as patient contact and tracing services became more and more difficult during the lockdown period.”

Reducing TB infections 

“We have set for ourselves the target to reduce TB infections from 450,000 to 315,000 per year. Data from the recent TB prevalence survey indicates that 390,000 people became infected with the virus in 2018, just a year after the launch of the national strategic plan. We only managed to find 60% that were diagnosed. This means there's still a number of them at large.”

Asymptomatic TB

“Nearly 60% of people who tested positive for TB did not display any of the classic symptoms. This means we need to refine our case detection approach. We need to work together as communities together with our health facilities.”

Screening services 

“We're employing digital tools and platforms to raise community awareness and integrate TB and Covid-9 screening services. A TB health checks mobile application that allows individuals to screen for TB risks and symptoms has been launched.”

TB prevalence higher in men

“According to the results of the latest TB surveillance report, TB prevalence is 1.6 times higher in men compared to women. In this regard, the SA National Aids Council men's sector has done commendable work through various platforms to sensitise men about the importance of fostering health-seeking behaviours.”