Thursday, 18 April, 2024
HomeNews UpdateHigh TB death rate, a worry – Phaahla

High TB death rate, a worry – Phaahla

The Department of Health has raised concerns over the death rate among TB patients in the country – the WHO estimated 56 000 deaths in SA in 2021 – and the fact that 300 000 South Africans are diagnosed annually with the disease.

During a high-level meeting this weekend, focused on the disease, Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla said TB “remains a pressing concern and we are worried about the unacceptable death rate among our patients”.

He said a major driver was HIV, “as 48% of our TB patients were people living with HIV in 2022”.

The Health Department had managed to notify and put 224 000 people on treatment, reports News24.

“South Africa has been at the forefront of introducing and scaling up new tools for diagnosis and shorter treatment regimens for drug-resistant TB. However, there is a need to do more to improve linkage to care and retention in care,” Phaahla added.

After the negative impact of Covid-19, a TB recovery plan had been developed which aims to find “missing” people with TB and link them to care, Phaahla said, and the country had moved from a symptom-based approach for testing to testing, regardless of symptoms, among high-risk groups.

“This contributed immensely to a drop in the notification gap – from 46% in 2017 to 26% in 2022. We have also found and treated 75 694 children with TB against a target of 95 500. We have achieved 97% of a target of 1.97m people with HIV (and) provided TB preventative treatment.”

He said recent progress in TB vaccine development also offered hope and the country was prepared to implement TB vaccines when they became available.


News24 article – 'A pressing concern': 300 000 people in SA diagnosed with TB annually, says health minister (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


SA in multi-million dollar trial for new TB vaccine


TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease — WHO report


What next for TB treatment after disappointing results for shortened regime?


Expert urges active case-finding to start early TB treatment and save lives


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