- On Thursday, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde visited the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital to create awareness of services available to children who are infected with TB.
- Winde has vowed the province would fight the TB epidemic
- According to him, in 2020 alone 217 children were diagnosed with TB at the hospital at an average of 18 cases per month.
The Western Cape government believes TB is an epidemic emergency that must be fought with the same determination as the response to Covid-19.
On Thursday, Premier Alan Winde visited the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital to create awareness of services available to children who are infected with TB.
He said most cases of TB in children in the Metro West region were diagnosed and treated at community clinics. However, he noted some children required in-patient care "because of the severity of their illness and because of other underlying conditions".
According to Winde, 217 children were diagnosed with TB at the hospital in 2021, at an average of 18 cases per month.
"Upon being discharged, most of the children are referred to their local TB clinics for ongoing TB treatment. Some children with TB resistant or other complex forms of TB who require ongoing specialised care but who cannot be treated at home, attend the specialised TB clinic at the hospital as outpatients, run in collaboration with a paediatrician from the Brooklyn Chest Hospital," he said.
The premier added parents should look out for possible signs of TB infection.
From Professor Brian Eley and Premier Alan WindeFrom Left Professor Heather Zar, Professor Brian Eley and Premier Alan Winde
South Africa is classified as one of 30 high-burden TB countries. Together, these nations account for an estimated 87% of cases worldwide. It is estimated South Africa accounts for 3% of global cases.
This according to TB prevalence severity results released recently.
"Children with TB are often thin and undernourished, which would first be noticed when the child's weight is being plotted into the booklet which all children receive in the public health sector."
Winde said parents should also make sure children below the age of five get the Bacille Calmette-Guerin vaccine, which prevented TB infection.
"Because of lockdown restrictions, not all children, who should have been vaccinated in 2020, got this life-saving vaccine. We are doing whatever we can to catch up, but we need the help of parents in ensure this happens too," he added.