More than 12 months after a proposal by the South African TB Caucus (SATBC), the provincial legislature has agreed to set up a tuberculosis caucus for the Western Cape as an ad hoc committee by the end of this month. Nearly 47,000 cases of TB had been diagnosed in the province since July 2021 to June this year.
The Cape Argus reports that in March last year, the SATBC, the local chapter of the 2,300 member global TB caucus of MPs in 130 countries, told the Health Standing Committee that setting up a Western Cape TB caucus would enable them to advocate for the allocation of budgets ring-fenced for TB and to review related legislation.
Last Friday, provincial health assistant director Nicky van der Walt gave the committee an overview of tuberculosis in the province and said there had been a high number of TB cases recently, with 46,119 confirmed cases since July 2021, and 4,156 TB-associated deaths.
Within the metro there had been 25,655 TB cases diagnosed in the year, with three sub districts accounting for almost half or 48% of those cases.
Committee chairperson Wendy Kaizer-Philander said the province had already instituted initiatives such as the multi-sectoral Provincial TB Emergency Response Plan and the provincial TB dashboard, and that it was “time for the legislature to join legislatures worldwide in creating holistic approaches to fight TB in our communities”.
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