More are being cured of TB in Gauteng

OPTIMISTIC: Gauteng MEC for health and social development Ntombi Mekgwe is happy the with state of affairs. PHOTO: BAFANA MAHLANGU
OPTIMISTIC: Gauteng MEC for health and social development Ntombi Mekgwe is happy the with state of affairs. PHOTO: BAFANA MAHLANGU

MORE than 80percent of patients who were screened, tested and diagnosed with TB in Gauteng's public health facilities have been cured of the illness.

The latest cure rate statistics have shown an increase from 64percent in 2004 to 81percent in June this year, making Gauteng the province with the highest cure rate in the country.

The Gauteng department of health and social development has introduced two gene expert machines to shorten the time taken to diagnose TB from two weeks to two hours.

The machines are based at the Chris Hani-Baragwanath Academic and Edenvale hospitals because of the high prevalence of the illness in Soweto and Alexandra.

Other factors that have added to the positive cure results are the door-to-door campaigns by community health workers and Directly Observed Treatment Support.

"Through this approach, defaulters were traced and brought back for treatment.

"This has also ensured that more people take the test," Gauteng department of MEC for health and social development Ntombi Mekgwe said.

In 2010-11, 52118 new TB cases were diagnosed in the province.

The department's awareness campaign emphasises that TB is curable after six months of treatment even in people living with HIV infection.

Mekgwe said: "I want to urge those who are on treatment to stay the course and complete treatment.

"Further, I would like to appeal to everyone who may have symptoms to seek treatment before it is too late."

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