TSUMEB - The Ministry of Health and Social Services recorded only a nominal decrease of Tuberculosis (TB) cases in the past three years from 9154 cases of active TB reported in 2016, to 8854 in 2017 representing a decrease of a mere 3 percent, while so far this year the figure further decreased to 8575.
Of this figure, 812 are children under the age of 14, representing 10 percent.
The Minister of Health, Dr Bernhard Haufiku yesterday revealed this while officially inaugurating the newly renovated paediatric TB ward at Tsumeb State Hospital. The facility was refurbished at a tune of N$860 000 through a donation from Dundee’s Tsumeb Community Trust Fund, it also included the purchasing of new equipment.
“While the trend in new cases shows a decline, there is still a need to pay more attention to TB prevention, treatment and care in Namibia. We have made commendable progress in fighting the disease, much still needs to be done as a higher number of TB cases continue to be recorded country wide. We must truly form partnership with everyone and follow established based guidelines as laid down by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on its NTB strategy 2016-2035,” stressed Haufiku
“Investing in health is somethings that pays dividends, not instantly but in a long term, it is even more important for us that Dundee decided to invest in one of our priority items as listed in our new and even old ministerial strategy which is TB. This donation represents a most significant investment by a single company in Namibia in the health sector.”
Old Mutual also donated N$200 000 towards the health sector.
According to Haufiku, the NTB figures show that in 2016, TB globally infected 10.4 million, while 1.3 million succumbed to this disease. “Even though comparing to the statistics of 2015 which is the bench mark for WHO’s NTB strategy, there has been a reduction of about 400 000 in TB mortality globally. But 1.3 million is still a worrying significant figure. Therefore requires an immediate attention, Namibia and the world must wake up to end TB epidemic. We must build solid ground and strong partnerships with corporate entities,” said Haufiku.
Namibia is among the 30 countries in the world that has the highest burden of TB cases.
Through the mother company Dundee, the vice president and managing director Zebra Kasete further announced a sponsorship of N$650 000 for the procurement of life-saving medical equipment. Kasete stated that, Dundee cares about the people and their wellbeing, thus a commitment of this calibre requires an active participation amongst stakeholders to work together in the development of a health environment by putting robust strategies.
“It is true that most of the deaths from TB can be prevented with early diagnosis and appropriate treatment, but there are still gaps in detection and treatment,” noted Kasete. On the other hand, the mayor of Tsumeb Mathews Hangula said the gesture symbolises a path in which stakeholders can collaborate and work together, thus serves as another mechanism to overcome the many challenges facing the country.