I am concerned that the Gauteng Health Department failed all its Tuberculosis treatment targets for the last quarter of the 2018/19 financial year.
This is revealed in the 4th Quarter Performance Report that was recently tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, which covers the period January to March this year.
TB client treatment success rate was only 72.8% (6892/9459), instead of the 89% target. The reason provided was that this was due to the high number of cases not evaluated in Johannesburg and Tshwane, and “it is a challenge” to report into the Tier.Net and ETR.Net systems.
The TB client death rate was 6.1% (582/9459) instead of the target to be below 5% .This was “due to all districts having death rate of above 6%. Patients reporting late to the facilities, very ill and not adhering to treatment implementation of adherence strategy and community awareness through advocacy and social mobilization.”
TB clients lost to follow-up was 10.4% (986/9459) which is nearly double the 5.5% target. This is blamed on high loss to follow up in Tshwane (13%), Sedibeng (11.2%) and Johannesburg (11.1%). Furthermore “increased mobility of patients and cross border issues remain a great challenge.”
Many deaths are due to HIV-positive people who also have TB, but only 83.9% (3494/4163) instead of 90% of them are on antiretroviral treatment.
South Africa has one of the highest burden of TB in the world and it is a leading cause of deaths.
Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) is rising because of non-adherence to treatment, but the cure rate is only 49.1% instead of the 60% target.
We cannot afford to lose the war against TB and must step up efforts in Gauteng, which is the most populous province.