Updated: Wed, 20 Mar 2013 13:46:54 GMT | By Sapa

SADC Countries Must Fight TB

Business and civil society must become involved in a push to reduce tuberculosis in the SADC region, particularly in the mining industry, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Wednesday.


TB protesters

Gallo Images

"A lot of work has been done, but what is left is co-ordination," said Motsoaledi at a function to mark the 1,000 days countdown to reduce tuberculosis and TB/HIV deaths.

The mining industry was grappling with a TB rate three to six times higher than in the general population, and, with HIV/Aids and silicosis forming a "triple cocktail", emphasis would be on aligning the treatment and cure of the disease for employees in that industry, irrespective of which country they were in.

Motsoaledi said plans included a computerised system that would enable a health worker to immediately know at which stage of treatment a patient was at, irrespective of whether they were in Mozambique, Lesotho, or Swaziland, so that treatment stayed in place.

Ministers from the region will meet in Swaziland on Thursday to sign the "Swaziland Statement" committing themselves to his programme.

Motsoaledi said South Africa was aiming to increase its current overall cure rate from around 80 percent to the global average of 85 percent.

He said that since 2009, 20 million people had been tested for the disease in South Africa.

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