NO END IN SIGHT FOR TB

 WELLNESS STEWARD NOTES

  • South Africa is one of seven countries responsible for the majority of the world’s tuberculosis (TB) burden
  • Almost two thirds of global TB cases occur in 7 countries, namely, India, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa
  • TB remains the leading infectious disease killer world-wide, outpacing HIV
  • However, every year we miss diagnosing between 100 000 to 150 000 cases every year in South Africa
  • The increasing rates of drug resistant TB together with South Africa’s high HIV infection rate, makes TB in South Africa a priority
  • The World Health Organisation aims to see TB deaths cut by 95%, a 90% drop in new cases by 2035
  • However, something has to seriously change if South Africa and the world is to reach these targets
  • Families have to shoulder the cost of lengthy treatment with frequent trips to health facilities even though all TB treatment is provided free by the government
  • Very sick TB patients often lose their jobs while being treated in hospitals
  • South Africans are at especially high risk of developing TB because most of the population is already infected with the latent form of the disease. Healthy immune systems can usually contain the TB germ which is why people with diabetes, HIV or cancer are at a higher risk of the TB becoming active
  • Many South Africans are exposed in settings like church services, taxis and hospitals
  • There is a new drug on the market called Bedaquiline which has been very positive. It’s the first new drug for TB in 50 years and is used to treat drug resistant TB
  • Since starting patients on Bedaquiline we have seen a drop in death rates – by 50 to 60%
  • South Africa has about 20 000 drug resistant TB cases every year. Only about 11000 are diagnosed with drug resistance.  7000 of these are on Bedaquiline
  • This means that a number of people are not diagnosed as drug resistant and are therefore not being treated
  • There is a new drug called Delamanid which is currently being researched and used in research programmes, with only about 600 patients receiving it to date. It is not yet available to the general public
  • There is a new drug on the horizon, called Sutezolid which is still under research and moving towards being tested on humans

 

 

In Summary :  To End TB “a lot more needs to happen and we all need to work a lot harder.

 

 

 

Stella & the Ed-Unique Team