Reaching TB patients is the biggest challenge

Francistown: When addressing the public during the World Tuberculosis (TB) day commemoration in Francistown last week, Minister of Health Dorcas Makgato, said reaching tuberculosis (TB) patients is the biggest challenge her Ministry is facing in its efforts to combat the disease.

Makgato said tuberculosis is one of the most active infections that should not be as active as they are. “As controllable as TB is, about 10, 000 people in Botswana still get infected and a large number of those don’t get medication because people are still afraid to come out,” she said. The Minister encouraged the public to encourage their relatives and bring them out of their hiding places hence the slogan, “Find, Reach, Cure TB.”

She noted that TB used to be a real concern in Botswana but with all the dedication from the Ministry and support from local and international development partners, the relentless fight to contain the scourge of TB in Botswana has been prosperous. “As you all know we cannot win this fight as the Ministry of Health alone,” the minister said.

“Times are gone where people used to hide, so it’s time to find the hiding and bring them to treatment and cure,” Makgato stated. She said if people do what they have to do in combating this controllable disease, everyone out there can be cured, realizing the country’s vision 2035 which states that all life threatening curable diseases should be cured. “As a nation we will introspect on critical gaps in TB control efforts, not only in our local context, but also in the region and the globe at large,” she added.

For his part, the Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi said Botswana has to play its part in the global campaign against TB by further mobilizing its domestic commitment, both politically and socially, to eliminate TB in Botswana.

He said tuberculosis has been and remains one of the biggest killers amongst the infectious diseases afflicting humankind. “Globally, TB is still responsible for the deaths of about 1.5 million people annually, including women of reproductive age and children,” he stated. He said securing good health for all by improving the quality of life for Batswana, as well as the quality and reach of health services, is a key component of the journey towards a more compassionate, just and caring nation.
“We have further committed ourselves to controlling the spread of other associated infectious diseases throughout the country, including HIV/AIDS, while alleviating the suffering of the afflicted,” the VP noted.