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4 800 die of TB in Lesotho


Ntsoaki Motaung

4 800 people died of Tuberculosis (TB) in Lesotho in 2019 and that includes 3 600 deaths among people with HIV.

This was revealed by Dr Francis Mupeta from the World Health Organisation (WHO) during a TB Preventive Therapy conference to commemorate World TB Day earlier this week.

“Lesotho has succeeded in terms of treatment of TB with 77% treatment rate. On the other hand, in 2019, 14 000 people fell ill with TB with 64% of them men, 30% women and 6% children, and only 51% of them were put on treatment despite the target that we have to curb TB with 90% by 2025. We could see that we still have a huge gap of almost 40% of people that need to be put on treatment,” he said.

Mupeta also disclosed that an estimated number of 760 people fell ill with Drug resistant TB of which 259 cases were laboratory confirmed then 181 started on second line treatment.

“About 8600 people living with HIV fell ill with TB and only half of them 4187 were notified and those that were put on both TB treatment and antiretroviral treatment is 3828. So we can actually see that we still have amount plus in terms of making the target that we have,” he said.     

According to the World Health Organisation, the World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is commemorated annually on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. The date marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.

“TB remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers. Each day, nearly 4000 lose their lives to TB and close to 28,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 63 million lives since the year 2000.

“The theme of World TB Day 2021 – ‘The Clock is Ticking’ –conveys the sense that the world is running out of time to act on the commitments to end TB made by global leaders. This is especially critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put End TB progress at risk, and to ensure equitable access to prevention and care in line with WHO’s drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage” says WHO.

On World TB Day, WHO calls on everyone to keep the promise to accelerate the End TB Response to reach the targets set in Sustainable Development Goals, WHO End TB Strategy, the Moscow Declaration to End TB and the political declaration of the UN High-Level Meeting on TB.

“Diagnose and treat 40 million people with TB by 2022 including 3.5 million children and 1.5 million people with drug-resistant TB. This is in line with WHO’s overall drive towards Universal Health Coverage and the WHO Director General’s flagship initiative “Find. Treat. All. #EndTB” jointly with the Global Fund and Stop TB Partnership.

“Reach 30 million people with TB preventive treatment by 2022 so that those people most at risk receive TB preventive treatment, including 24 million household contacts of TB patients – 4 million of whom are children under 5 – and 6 million people living with HIV,” reads excerpts from the WHO website.

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