The South African government through the delegation from the Department of Health will this week share the country`s best practices and strategies in the fight against Tuberculosis (TB), during the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health held in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The Conference which kick-starts on Wednesday, 11 October 2017 in Mexico will be attended by delegates from more than 125 countries and is the world’s largest gathering of clinicians and public health workers, health programme managers, policy makers, researchers and advocates, working to end the suffering caused by lung disease.
The theme for this year`s conference is “Accelerating Toward Elimination” and will build on the momentum from the previous conference in held last year in Liverpool, and it is expected to draw together 4000 delegates to achieve the ambitious goals that have been set for the global lung health agenda.
The 2017 conference will mainly focus on how to accelerate toward elimination on multiple fronts, including tuberculosis (TB) and co-infections, improving tobacco control and reducing air pollution.
South Africa will use this opportunity to share the country`s best practices and achievements made to improve the care of MDR-TB patients and reducing their burden, the decentralisation of testing and treatment facilities which resulted in increased case detection and improved patient support.
South Africa has the sixth highest TB incidence in the world, with more than 450 000 cases diagnosed in 2015; and 63% being in people living with HIV.
Out of 10 million people who die each year from lung diseases, at least 80% of them live are found in the resource-limited countries. South Africa has one of the highest TB incidences in the world, with the disease being the number one killer in the country.
The government`s high-powered delegation consists amongst others, Chief Director for National TB Control and Management, Mr David Mametja; Dr Norbert Ndjeka Director Drug-Resistant-TB and Dr Lindiwe Mvusi, Director Drug-Susceptible TB.
Mr Mametja will chair a satellite session titled “Ordinary people doing extraordinary work to improve the clinical and programmatic management of DR-TB in South Africa”. This session will share the advances and best practices that were implemented by clinical and programmatic management of DR-TB in South Africa. The delegation will be joined by several representatives from Academic and Non-Governmental Organisations.
Dr Norbert Ndjeka will co-facilitate a session on the introduction of new and repurposed anti-TB medicines in the era of increasing antimicrobial resistance under programmatic conditions.
The first international conference on tuberculosis was held in 1867, well before the cause of TB was discovered by Prof Robert Koch in 1882. The Union traces its origins to these gatherings of experts from around the world who were determined to collaborate and find a common solution to “the White Plague” – tuberculosis.