Drug resistant TB reverses MoHís efforts

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Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health (MoH) Shenaaz El Halabi says the emergence of Multi Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB) threatens the country’s achievements of reducing TB cases in the last three decades.

Addressing journalists this week, El Halabi said the media was in a good position to raise awareness on pertinent health issues, such as TB and HIV including MDR TB. “You have a role to play in creating service provision and keeping us as services providers accountable to the communities we serve,” she said.

El Halabi further said it was important that the media and the service providers open their communication channels to ensure smooth flow of up-to-date information on health issues. El Halabi noted that Botswana had established the TB programme 40 years ago with the vision of seeing the country TB free. “Botswana saw an initial decrease in TB cases until the late 1980s when the first HIV cases were diagnosed in the country,” she said. She also said a number of TB cases then increased exponentially from 5,000 cases a year in 1990 to 12,000 in 2002. “This underscores HIV as the main driver, fuelling the TB epidemic in Botswana.”

El Halabi said HIV prevalence remained among the highest globally, standing at 18.5% in the general population of approximately 1.2 million. She said to date, more than 95% of the people in need of TB treatment were on Antiretroviral Treatment (ART).


El Halabi also said MDR complicated the country’s national response to TB, adding that they confirmed close to 100 new cases of MDR annually.

Editor's Comment
What about employees in private sector?

How can this be achieved when there already is little care about the working conditions of those within the private sector employ?For a long time, private sector employees have been neglected by their employers, not because they cannot do better to care for them, but because they take advantage of government's laxity when it comes to protecting and advocating for public sector employees, giving the cue to employers within the private sector...

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