Partnerships essential to fight TB, HIV

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Durban - Partnerships are seen as the way forward in eliminating TB and HIV in the country.

Speaking to BuaNews during the 2nd TB Conference held at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban on Tuesday, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager at the TB/HIV Care Association, Dr Vuyi Sikiti, said that through partnerships, the country can minimize the rate of TB, HIV and AIDS.

"The diseases are not only government's responsibility but all of us and if we can work together against this scourge, we will win this battle," Sikiti said.

Sikiti also applauded government's new HIV and AIDS policy, which amongst others, includes the integration of TB and HIV care to patients.

She said she was also optimistic that the HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) campaign target of getting 15 million people tested for HIV by June 2011 would be achieved.

"Through the campaign, people can be screened for both TB and HIV and that will help in lowering the chances of HIV patients getting TB, if this was done earlier more lives would have been saved," she said.

The association is working together with government in educating and conducting TB and HIV promotions and screenings.

The association has since established non-clinical HCT teams, five in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

The teams consist of a professional nurse, two lay counsellors and one community mobiliser.

"Community mobilisers encourage community members to test for HIV by educating them about the benefits of knowing their HIV status and explaining that counselling and testing is free and confidential," she said.

The staff have also been placed in health facilities to assist with TB and HIV monitoring and evaluation.

Meanwhile, Health Department Chief Director for TB Control and Management, Dr Norbert Ndjeka noted that management of Extreme Drug Resistant (XDR) TB goes beyond prescribing medication and performing laboratories - it needs to be holistic.

"We are on the move to kick TB out."