Great strides made in addressing TB as a public health concern says Shangula
Great strides have been made in addressing Tuberculosis as a public health concern, reaching a treatment success rate of 88% in 2021, an official said last week Friday.
The Minister of Health and Social Service, Kalumbi Shangula highlighted this at an event held to commemorate World TB Day which is celebrated on 24 March.
“Namibia was just 2% short of reaching the WHO target of 90% for all forms of Tuberculosis and a 75% treatment success rate for patients with drug-resistant Tuberculosis, surpassing the WHO target,” he said in a statement he delivered.
According to Shangula, Namibia has maintained a positive trend in providing HIV testing for all its TB patients which is almost 100% well as 99% initiation of Anti-Retroviral Therapy for those who tested HIV positive.
“We are also seeing a decline in the HIV positivity rate amongst TB patients, from almost 60% in 2005 to 30% in 2021. This signifies success in the provision of TB-HIV services and prevention interventions,” he added.
Shangula said these interventions include intensified screening, the introduction of WHO-recommended rapid molecular testing for TB as well as point of care TB testing amongst individuals with HIV, all in addition to the scaling up of shorter-term Tuberculosis Preventative Therapy.
Despite the successes, Shangula said there is more to be done in our fight to end TB in Namibia.
“We are still ranked amongst the top 10 countries globally with the highest TB incidence rate, therefore the World Health Organization estimates that we could be missing about 44% of our TB cases nationally,” he added.
Shangula meanwhile at the event also officially launched the Strategic Plan to Address Tuberculosis in Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities in Namibia 2021-2025 and Tuberculosis Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines, Third Edition.