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Tuberculosis remains key cause of ill health, death in South Africa

At World TB Day in South Africa led by Deputy President Paul Mashatile. Photo: @SA_AIDSCOUNCIL

Johannesburg, South Africa | Xinhua | Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the leading causes of ill health and death in South Africa, the country’s Deputy President Paul Mashatile said Friday during the 2023 World TB Day commemoration.

“This is exacerbated by the fact that some TB patients do not complete their treatment while others remain ‘missing’, which means that they are either undiagnosed or are unreported even as they are diagnosed,” Mashatile said, adding that the country must recommit to raising greater levels of awareness about the disease alongside its terrible health, social and economic implications.

It’s concerning that the last South Africa TB Prevalence Survey positioned the country as one of the 30 high TB burden countries, he said. “It is critical that everyone infected with TB is aware of the infection, is introduced to treatment and goes on to complete their treatment.”

The deputy president announced that the country has launched the 5th national strategic plan for diseases including TB, which aims to eliminate TB as a public health threat by 2030.

World TB Day is commemorated annually on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the epidemic.

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