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Urine diagnose test for TB available

The ongoing TB awareness is one of the major campaigns by government. As the world commemorates World TB Day, the Limpopo provincial government observed the day at Mabatlane Sports Ground in Vaalwater, in the Waterberg District on the 22 March.

Speaking on behalf of Premier Stanley Chupu Mathabatha, MEC for Health Dr Phophi Ramathoba acknowledged that TB is no longer a stigma compared to two decades ago. The effective management of Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR) and Extensively drug resistant (XDR) have improved the patient life spend and addressed the discrimination that people diagnosed with TB suffered.

“Despite the good management and cure, there are still challenges for defaulting patients, some influenced by church leaders and pastors who mislead patients that prayers can heal the virus, and with prayers they must stop taking the treatment. Of course, there is a difference after two weeks of taking the treatment and at that point, the patient feels better and stronger because the bacteria is suppressed, at that point the patient is thinking they have completely recovered and not necessary to finish the six month treatment course which is discouraged” said Ramathuba

Under this year’s theme of “Yes! We Can End TB“ there has been new improved way to test patients for TB which was exclusive to the sputum test and at times was difficult for a patient to produce as directed the health care professional. Currently there is a urine diagnoses test which is more efficient and effective.

To trace defaulting patients, government has absorbed home based care centers care givers to the persal system that is used to pay government employees as a mitigating factor after disputes over the years that they are not paid on time and if done on time they always get lower money as agreed.

“A report from DHIS reported that from April to December 2023, 8482 people were diagnosed with TB. It is concerning to note that this number is higher than the number of patients during the same period that was reported in 2022, an increase of 665 and this is why we need tracers to be integrated into the persal system so that they also get encouraged to do their job and we are appreciative of the support we get from the communities” concluded Ramathuba

The province has reported a TB treatment rate of 90.5% during the 2023/2024 financial year. Previously only the Modimolle Hospital could cater for MDR patients and were not allowed to get visitation from family and friends, but things have changed for the better as more heath care facilities in all the province districts are equipped to treat the once most fear infectious virus.

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