Despite efforts by government and civil society organisations, every year Tuberculosis (TB) remains the biggest killer even though it is an entirely preventable and curable disease.
Of those individuals who contract TB, a large percentage do not receive care because they are “missed” by health systems after failing to be diagnosed, treated or reported.
These were some of the points noted at the first South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Extended Plenary of 2018 on Friday.
The meeting was attended by Deputy President and Chairperson of SANAC David Mabuza, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Premiers and MECs for Health from various provinces in their capacities as members of Provincial AIDS Councils.
“SANAC undertook to intensify its work in addressing a national target of missing TB patients. Government, working together with all stakeholders, is committed to transform the country’s TB response to be equitable, rights-based and people-centred,” said a statement by the Deputy President following the meeting.
The plenary noted the importance of addressing other social determinants of the burden of HIV and AIDS and called for focused action on the issue of gender-based violence.
Deputy President Mabuza highlighted the importance of accelerating research and development of new tools in dealing with challenges of HIV and AIDS and TB.
“The plenary also agreed to join efforts in strengthening Provincial Councils on AIDS, in particular the participation of Premiers as Chairs of the Councils,” said the Presidency.
The plenary was briefed on key issues pertaining to the National Strategic Plan (NSP) 2017-2022 and the upcoming International AIDS Conference to be held in July in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The NSP is the strategic guide for the national response to HIV, TB and STIs in South Africa.
The meeting received an update on the first United Nations High Level Meeting on TB scheduled for September 2018 by Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi.
The Deputy President concluded by highlighting the importance of the SANAC Secretariat to become more innovative in setting the new agenda to enhance more productivity as well as support new SANAC structures.