25 Mar 2016 12:30pm
OSHIKUKU, 25 MAR (NAMPA) The Omusati Region commemorated World Tuberculosis (TB) Day with an event held at Oshikuku on Thursday.
The event was held under this years theme, Unite to end TB.
In his keynote address read on his behalf by his deputy Juliet Kavetuna, Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Bernard Haufiku said Namibia has consistently been among the top 10 countries with the highest TB rates in the world.
Reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicate that we are the fourth worst affected country in the world, he said.
Haufiku said TB continues to be a leading cause of death in Namibia. He commended those who manage to successfully complete their treatment, saying that it is not an easy task.
Studies by the Ministry of Health and Social Services show that in 2015, 9 953 cases of TB were reported. This represents an increase of 71 cases from the 9 882 cases reported in 2014.
This increase is primarily due to the improvement in diagnostics which has been realised by introducing the latest technology for TB diagnosis. We will continue to ensure that Namibia is not left behind as these new technologies become available, Haufiku noted.
The minister also encouraged health workers, TB field promoters and lifestyle ambassadors among others to continue working together to reach everyone who needs TB diagnosis, treatment, care and support.
A statement was also delivered on behalf of World Health Organisation country representative Dr Monir Islam, who said every year, an estimated nine million cases of TB are reported worldwide. Despite huge investments in health services, three million of these cases are still not diagnosed and treated.
Although it is evident that the previously increasing trend of TB cases has been halted and the region is observing a declining trend, it is important to reach, treat and cure all patients, especially vulnerable people, Islam stated.
World TB Day falls on 24 March every year and is aimed at creating public awareness of the disease and efforts to eliminate it.
TB is a potentially serious infectious disease which affects the lungs. The bacteria that causes it spreads from one person to another through coughs and sneezes.