by adminMarch 13, 2017

Did you know that, every year, tuberculosis (TB) causes thousands of deaths in South Africa and the rest of the world? The death toll also rises worldwide every year.

TB Awareness Month is commemorated each year from 1 to 31 March. This year’s theme is “Unite to end TB and HIV: South African leaders taking action”. The City of Tshwane’s Health Department aims to promote this awareness through community engagement which mainly focuses on:

  1. TB testing and screening to identify TB;
  2. enhancing the detection of TB in children;
  3. improving HIV counselling and testing; and
  4. promoting healthy lifestyles.

We urge citizens not to wait for all the symptoms to appear before they report to the clinic. TB is curable when treatment is taken as prescribed by the clinic. The hard-to-treat TB called MDR TB (multi drug-resistant TB) or XDR TB (extreme drug-resistant TB) may develop when one stops or skips treatment. More expensive treatment will then be needed for a very long time.

The following factors contribute to the prevalence of TB disease:

  • Alcoholism
  • Smoking
  • Diseases such as diabetes
  • Cancer treatment
  • Continuous tiredness
  • Overcrowding
  • Poor nutrition
  • Physical and emotional problems
  • Vulnerability due to being very young or elderly
  • Viral infections that cause low resistance

Anybody experiencing any of the following needs to contact their clinic for free TB screening:

  1. Persistent cough
  2. Unintentional weight loss
  3. Tiredness and weakness
  4. Night sweats
  5. Chest pains
  6. Blood in the sputum

Factors leading to an increase in TB cases: 

  1. Clients give wrong addresses and telephone numbers, so follow-up is difficult or impossible.
  2. There is a social stigma associated with TB.
  3. There is a lack of support from family or relatives.
  4. Patients refuse to take treatment and continue to spread TB.

If you have TB, it does not mean that you are HIV-positive. Get tested for HIV! TB is fully curable even if you are HIV-positive. Let us fight TB together and have a healthy community. If somebody at home has TB, take all your children under the age of five to the clinic for free screening and testing for TB.


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