Port Shepstone - A newly opened Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR)-TB centre on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast is set to benefit patients in this area.
As the part of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day celebrations on Tuesday, MEC for Health Neliswa Nkonyeni opened the Murchison Good Hope Centre at the Murchison Hospital.
The MDR-TB centre, which cost the department R4 million to build, will cost an additional R11 million per annum to run.
The Murchison Good Hope centre is one of four centers for MDR-TB management and treatment in the province.
Other centres are at the FOSA hospital in eThekwini, M3 hospital in Greytown, Thulasizwe hospital in Zululand, and Doris Goodwin hospital in Pietermaritzburg.
Construction and renovations are also underway to increase the bed capacity by 150 more beds at the Doris Goodwin, M3 Greytown and Manguzi hospitals.
According to department, during the 2004/2005 and 2006/7 financial years it spent R430 million respectively on TB treatment and care, in 2007/8 - R525 million, 2007/8 - R540 million and in 2008/9 - R640 million.
The department has also devised a protocol for the management of patients from home. Ms Nkonyeni said that patients who have TB symptoms, can be discharged from hospital and receive their daily injections from home.
As part of the protocol, a system to monitor side-effects and a surveillance system to monitor transmission among contacts was also set up.
MEC Nkonyeni said the province is currently registering 114 276 patients into the department's TB treatment programme per annum.
She said the incidence rate in KwaZulu-Natal is around 1100 cases per 100 000 population.
Prior to the implementation of the TB Crisis Management Plan in 2006, the cure rate was at 44 percent and has now improved to 56 percent. The defaulter rate was at 15 percent and has been reduced to 10 percent.
"Overall treatment success rate, which is a combination of cure and treatment completed, was at 64 percent and is now at 71 percent. These figures represent the successes in the whole province," the MEC said.
It also shows that a collective effort of all stakeholders was the answer to the eradication of TB in KwaZulu-Natal, said MEC Nkonyeni.
World TB Day is commemorated to raise awareness about the epidemic of TB and to celebrate efforts to eliminate the disease.
This annual event on 24 March marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch detected the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. This was the first step towards diagnosing and curing TB.