Tuesday, 8 May 2012

TB infection rate a concern

Health Minister Theuns Botha (right) talking to a patient in a ward in the Harry Comay Hospital that was furnished with ten new beds.

GEORGE NEWS FLASH - Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha expressed concern this morning over the TB infection rate in the Western Cape.

"The department is doing everything right in terms of treating people, but we are not bringing down the infection rate.

"It remains a huge problem, despite the fact that we are doing everything right in terms of the treatment of TB sufferers," he said.

Botha was at the Harry Comay TB Hospital in George this morning to view ten new beds that were added to one of the wards at a cost of R1-million. The hospital has undergone major renovations to the tune of R35-million during the past four years. The upgrading is in its final stages and should be completed by the end of the year.

Botha attributed the stubborn TB infection rate to poor social conditions in densely populated communities and unhealthy lifestyles.

Another obstacle the department faces, is patients' failure to finish the total course of TB medication to ensure complete recovery.

This leads to Multi Drug Resistant TB (MDR) which is not only life threatening to the patient, but is costing the government much more to treat. Medication for treating ordinary TB costs R370 compared to the medication to treat MDR which costs R30 000. Medicating a patient with Extreme Drug Resistant TB (XDR) costs R130 000. These people have a slim chance of surviving.

- George Herald