Kaleb Nghishidivali

According to statistics, a quarter of the world’s population carries the bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB) sickness in a condition known as latent TB infection. DR. Kalumbi Shangula, Minister of Health and Social Services, made this announcement in honor of World TB Day. On April 27, 2023, in Tsumkwe, Otjozondjupa region, the event with the subject “YES! WE CAN END TB” was remembered.

Speaking at the ceremony, the health minister noted that, developing nations are home to the majority of TB patients worldwide.

Shangula added that Namibia notified 8 604 TB patients in 2022.  The number of cases has increased from 6 599 in 2021 by 30%.  According to projections for 2021, the Global TB Report suggested that Namibia may have missed up to 42% of TB cases.

“The rise demonstrates that our efforts to close the treatment gap are working as intended.  In this regard, it’s critical that all TB patients are identified and treated as soon as possible.  We must use every effort to prevent and halt the disease’s further spread.  The nation’s 87% treatment success rate as of right now is encouraging.  This is only 3% short of our 90% goal,” said minister of health.

He continued by noting that the theme should arouse optimism and motivate high-level leadership to engage in and carry out the fight against TB with the required tenacity.

Shangula claims that the World Health Organization (WHO) would publish a call to action asking member nations to quicken the adoption of the new, all-oral, shorter-duration treatment regimens for drug-resistant TB that are recommended by the WHO.

“I am happy to report that Namibia has already begun down this road and that our recommendations now include the WHO-recommended all-oral treatment regimens.  All individuals who require these medications can get them for free since we’ve acquired them, he said.

Meanwhile, Shangula claimed that the TB makes communities more vulnerable by exacerbating the numerous socioeconomic problems they face.

People who contract and develop TB and how they handle TB treatment are affected by factors like undernourishment, unfavorable living and working conditions, and access to other services. 

He continued by saying that the health system cannot defeat TB on its own.  Strong multisectoral collaboration outside of the health sector, a strong political commitment at the highest level, and an efficient accountability mechanism are all necessary.  In the fight against TB, a total government and total social approach is required.

“I call upon other ministries, communities, civil society, and the private sector to join the commitments made and promote dialogue and collaboration that unites individuals and communities in new ways to end the tuberculosis epidemic,” proclaimed Shangula.

April 28, 2023

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