North West Health to open R23mil TB facility

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Klerksdorp - The North West Health Department will on Friday open a R23 million Tuberculosis (TB) facility to help intensify the efforts to increase the cure rate for TB in the province.

The newly built TB facility will be unveiled by Health Minister, Barbara Hogan at the Tshepang Hospital in Jouberton. The event also forms part of the commemoration of World TB day.

Departmental Spokesperson, Nthabiseng Makhongoana told BuaNews on Wednesday that the newly built MDR and XDR TB Units are fully equipped with high standard machines that will assist in fast tracking the minimisation of statistics for patients suffering from TB in the province.

The construction of the facility within the Tshepong Hospital started in May 2008 and was completed in March 2009.

Ms Makhongoana said the facility will service patients from and around the province as well as referral patients suffering from the extreme TB strain.

Currently, patients have been using the Klerksdorp MDR TB Unit and the Duff Scott Hospital, which have always been overburden by MDR and XDR TB patients.

She said as part of the department's approach in educating the public about TB, health promoters are currently conducting door-to-door visits.

The main aim of the visits is to educate patients and communities about the importance of completing treatment and also providing education and information on TB.

Meanwhile, the National Department of Health in partnership with stakeholders will further accelerate the awareness by staging a massive TB Awareness Cycle Race as part of the build-up to the World TB Day commemoration.

The awareness cycle race, which will take place today at the Mogale Key West Mall in Krugersdorp to Potchefstroom, aims to promote the spread of appropriate TB information and education.

The cycle will cover about 110km with the first stop-over point at the Fochville Taxi Rank.

The second leg of the race will be on Thursday starting in Potchefstroom to Klerksdorp, covering about 45km.

During her State of the Province Address last month, North West Premier Edna Molewa highlighted that the province must intensify the efforts of fighting the increasing rate of TB.

"We are intensifying our efforts to increase our cure rate from the current 55 percent to 65 percent, including the construction of dedicated provincial MDR and XDR-TB facilities at Tshepong Hospital, and preparations are underway for facilities in other districts."

The programme for the tracing of defaulters has been intensified through the procurement of vehicles dedicated for defaulter tracing and management, she said at the time.

Ms Molewa further added that the programme to expand health infrastructure, including the revitalisation of hospitals, continues apace in the province.

"The programme for the construction and upgrading of our facilities has registered many successes. We have built 38 new clinics since 2004, and the Itsoseng Community Health Centre has been completed.

"We await funding for the upgrading of the Lichtenberg and Bophelong Hospitals, while the new Vryburg and Moses Kotane Hospitals should be long completed by the end of this calendar year," she said.