by Andrew Louw – DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate
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Date: 15 October 2018
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Northern Cape is calling on Health MEC, Fufe Makatong, to come up with an action plan to ensure that the over 4000 TB patients who are unaccounted for in the province, are found as a matter of urgency.
According to the Northern Cape Health Department’s First Quarterly Report for 2018/2019, there are more than 8000 missing TB patients in South Africa, of which 4189 are missing in the Northern Cape. As many as 2364 are from the Frances Baard district.
It seems that missing TB patients include those who have defaulted on their treatment regimes, as well as patients who never started treatment, some of whom don’t even know that they are infected with this serious disease.
By not being on treatment, these missing patients are not only risking their own lives but they are also a threat to society.
Given the on-again-off-again nature of the TB Tracer teams in the province, as well as the slow recruitment process for the appointment of district TB coordinators and nurses, it is little wonder that the Northern Cape is home to the majority of the country’s total unaccounted TB patients.
The fact that the campaign to find missing TB cases does not have a budget, also does not help.
After HIV & AIDS, TB is the second highest underlying cause of death in the Northern Cape and can under no circumstances be taken lightly.
The DA will write to MEC Makatong, requesting a full report on the missing TB patients, as well as its plans to trace missing patients to that they can be found and placed on treatment before they either die or infect others in close contact with them.
Only change under a DA-led government will ensure that proper case management of TB cases is the order of the day so as to prevent state-created health crises such as this one, which places a further burden on state.
DA Northern Cape Premier Candidate
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387