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<html> <head> <title>Statement by Ebrahim Rasool on World TB Day

Statement by Ebrahim Rasool on World TB Day

Statement by Ebrahim Rasool on World TB Day

23 March 2000

The central call of the ANC Western Cape for World TB Day 2000 is for the reintroduction of the TB Emergency in the Western Cape.

The announcement by me in December 1996 for a TB Emergency was a direct response to a damming World Health Organisation report which raised concerns about, amongst others:

  • Poor registering of TB sufferers, the alarming growth in the prevalence of TB and poor cure rates.
  • The 1997 TB emergency intended, and largely succeeded, in turning around this bad report and gave a major impetus to the fight against TB, brought many volunteers into this fight, started to de-stigmatise TB as a disease and pushed up cure rates close to a target of 85%.

In 1998 the Coalition of the NNP and DP ended the TB Emergency. The result has been that TB has enjoyed less of a priority status: Premier Morkel failed to even mention TB in his State of the Province Address 2000 and chose rather to announce the establishment of a Malaria research centre.

Since 1998 the prevalence of TB has grown in the Western Cape from 499/100 000 to over 600/100 000 citizens. It is now estimated that 60% of People with HIV/AIDS in the Western Cape will present with the TB disease. Community-based TB groups were allowed to collapse (TADSA has just been saved through an injection of funds) and volunteers have lost morale.

The ANC believes that all of these are compelling reasons to reintroduce the TB emergency. Lifting it in the first place was short-sighted politicking.

We call on the Coalition government to do so immediately - the signs are that they have seen that it was wrong to lift it in the first place and today (23 March 2000) the Western Cape Legislature has accepted a motion by ANC MPL Whitey Jacobs (attached) to reintroduce the TB Emergency. This now requires the Provincial Health Department to implement it forthwith.

This Emergency will have to be meaningful and should, therefore:

  1. Inject a sense of urgency again in the fight against TB;
  2. Reinvigorate the many volunteers through resources and training;
  3. Establish sound partnerships firstly among all levels of government, secondly among all NGO`s active in TB, and thirdly between governments, NGO`s and communities.
  4. Create a greater synergy between the fight against HIV/AIDS and TB.
  5. Launch a multi-sectoral approach in the fight against TB, so that, for example, the TB Drugs could also be administered in workplaces.
  6. Garner major resources from the provincial department to give effect to a community-based assault on tuberculosis.
  7. Spread the good work done in the 6 TB Demonstration Districts to all 24 Districts in the Western Cape so that every area where TB exists is tackled.
  8. Raise levels of awareness about TB to such an extent that it is more de-stigmatised, that patients don`t interrupt their treatment and that TB sufferers come forward to be part of the DOTS programme.

May we on this World TB Day call to mind the many across the World who have died from TB - a disease which is curable.

MOTION WITHOUT NOTICE BY MEMBER WHITEY JACOBS

Noting, on the eve of World TB Day, the alarming increase in the prevelance of TB to 600 per 100 000 in the Western Cape over the last two years;

This House therefore resolves that the Tuberculosis Emergency which was so successful in 1997 be re-introduced in the Western Cape to meet the challenge of TB.

Issued by ANC Western Cape Communications Department
For any media enquiries contact ANC Media Officer Gert Witbooi:
(021)696-7510 or 082-570-9118.

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