South African has started relaxing its efforts against Covid19 in the most recent months. We could say the current discussions of the COVID-19 vaccine has put all efforts of non-medical preventative efforts in the back banner. We have forgotten cocktail of colliding epidemics: Covid19; maternal, newborn and child health; HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB); non-communicable diseases; and violence and injury. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the loss of more than 2 million job losses in South Africa.
Citizens have started entertaining the idea of normality. Let us look at pre Covid times and paint a picture in order for us to be clear for us to find the correct solution. Tuberculosis was and still remains South Africa’s leading cause of death. About 450,000 people develop TB every year, and 270,000 of those are also living with HIV.
Through the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV, TB, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) 2017-2022, we have committed to diagnosing 90 percent of TB cases, providing treatment to 100 percent of TB patients, and achieving a treatment success rate (TSR) of 90 percent. The most critical step before link to care is relying on people to have a healthy seeking behaviour. The grim reality is that 60% of those who screened do no go to the health facility as recommended in the referral. The poor performers are mostly men who are reluctant to follow up on their treatment regiment. This could be some of the reasons why we have roughly 89,000 people die from TB every year; that’s ten people every hour.
We are getting in our own way when it comes to health. “We are far from woke. Our constitution ensure that we have the best quality health products in response to TB. We have TB preventive therapy on the shelves of our health care facilities. I invite young and old men to put themselves first. Good health ensures that we have good work force that keeps the economy going. Your health is your currency” said Mr Mabalane Mfundisi, Executive Director of Show Me Your Number.
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