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Opening Remarks by KZN Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo on the occasion of the official opening of the SA TB Conference at International Convention Centre in Durban, 10 June 2014


Prof Bavesh Kana - Conference Chair 2014

We warmly welcome each and every one of you, hoping and trusting that deliberations that we are going to have will positively impact on our quest to rid our country of this malady of Tuberculosis.

All of us here share one vision of; ‘A world free of tuberculosis -– zero deaths, disease and suffering due to tuberculosis.’

Under this roof you constitute a forum of people of diverse backgrounds, experiences and skills needed; capable and relevant to review the evidence and to debate and develop innovative approaches to fight the TB epidemic in the era of HIV.
We all agree that as much as there are achievements made, they are far from enough to ensure progress towards the total elimination of tuberculosis.

In the spirit of the chosen theme which is ‘WORKING TOGETHER TO ERADICATE TB’, we sincerely hope this conference will give pointers on how best to involve communities in the prevention of TB, TB case finding and case holding activities.
The whole of South Africa and the world in general are eagerly awaiting the outcome of our dialogue here to hear how we propose to implement and reach the post 2015 Global TB Strategy and targets for Tuberculosis adopted at the 67th World Health assembly on the 19th May 2014. The MILESTONES for 2025 include:

Indeed, we remain concerned that Tuberculosis (TB) still continues to remain a major global health problem as the World Health Organisation reveals that in 2012, an estimated 8.6 million people developed TB and that a total of 1.3 million people also died from this disease. Amongst those who demised 320 000 of them were HIV-positive.

It is further revealed that even though most TB cases and deaths occur among men; TB remains among the top three killers of women worldwide. In 2012 for an example, globally, there were an estimated 410 000 TB deaths among women.
The children are also not left immune in this, considering that in the same reporting period, globally, you had a total estimate of 530 000 TB cases among children (under 15 years of age) and 74 000 dying.

Coming back to South Africa; in 2012, the rate of infection was 450 000 cases with an estimated 88 000 deaths of which KwaZulu Natal accounted for 31% of all TB cases reported in the country at 101 037 cases; 7 884 of those cases being children under the age of 5 years.
Programme Director; these big numbers of people dying of Tuberculosis are unacceptable given the fact that TB is a preventable and curable disease.

I thus consider it prudent that we first take stock of what we have been doing as a country in an attempt to manage and eradicate this malady.
The South African National Department of Health started providing Antiretrovirals in 2004. The ground breaking pronouncements on World AIDS day in December 2009 by Hon President, Jacob Zuma came with innovative approaches that entailed:

At the very high level of Government, we are represented and participating fully in all the deliberations taking place here as we follow the advice of President Zuma’s key HIV/ TB message of:  “I am Responsible; We are Responsible; South Africa is taking Responsibility”
I thank you


Contact: Desmond Motha, 083 295 3901


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