Pretoria: The North West Department of Health is set to open a Multi-Drug Resistant (MDR) Tuberculosis (TB) unit at Gelukspan Hospital, which will help to ease the pressure on the Klerksdorp/ Tshepong Hospital Complex.
Provincial health spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said the move was aimed at making TB treatment accessible and closer to communities.
He said MDR TB expertise were initially centralised in the Klerksdorp/Tshepong Hospital Complex. Services had to be decentralised following the installation of Gene Xpert machines in various hospitals across that province.
“With the use of new technology, more people are now being diagnosed with TB. The number of MDR TB cases increased from 375 in 2012 to 570 in 2013. The new cases far exceed the 76-bed capacity at the Klerksdorp/ Tshepong Hospital Complex’s MDR TB unit,” said Lekgethwane.
Gene Xpert technology is a new test for TB. It can establish if a person is infected with TB within two hours and also if the TB bacterium of the person has resistance to one of the common TB drugs.
About 19 000 patients in the North West are currently on TB treatment..
The province has also seen a decrease in TB related deaths from 8.2% in 2009 to 7.3% in 2012. TB defaulter rate improved from 9.2% in 2012 to 7.2% in 2013. The department attributed this to its community health worker programme.
Source: South African Official News