Multimillion rand unit to improve N West TB cure rate

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Pretoria - A R40 million Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) tuberculosis facility will be unveiled in the North West to help strengthen the TB cure rate in that province. 

TB in the North West accounts for 25 - 30 percent of deaths, while HIV-related illnesses account for 60 percent of deaths at Klerkdorp/Tshepong Hospital Complex. The current MDR TB cure rate in the province stands at 65 percent, while the Extreme Drug Resistant (XDR) cure rate is at 16.1 percent.

The expansion of the MDR TB Unit at Tshepong Hospital in Jouberton will be unveiled by Provincial Health MEC Dr Magome Masike on Wednesday, where extra beds (from 36 to 70) have been placed in the unit.

The TB facility consists of an XDR unit catering for patients across the province and remains a pillar in the fight against TB. The province has 55 MDR in-patients and 419 out-patients, with only eight XDR in-patients. 

Department spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said MDR and XDR TB are as a result of patients who default treatment and that remains a main concern for the department. 

"Treating MDR/XDR TB is very costly as compared to treating ordinary TB. This puts a huge strain on the department, given the numerous and complex public health challenges it is facing," said Lekgethwane.

Lekgethwane noted the department's efforts to reach communities through door-to-door visits and public places such as taxi ranks.

The opening of the TB unit, which takes place ahead of World TB Day on 24 March 2011, will also coincide with the launch of "Are Batleng TB Research Project" aimed at identifying patients with chronic diseases early to reduce death and complications from TB, HIV, hypertension, diabetes and obesity.

In another development at the hospital complex, BroadReach Healthcare will hand over a renovated wellness clinic to Dr Masike, which will make access to quality healthcare to more than 19 685 patients receiving antiretroviral treatment (ARV) at the complex.