Speech by the Honourable Premier of the Northern Cape, Ms Hazel Jenkins, on the occasion of the inaugural Northern Cape “STOP TB INDABA”.

Kimberley, Frances Baard District – Northern Cape, 15 April 2010

Programme Director
Members of the Executive Council
Chairperson and Members of the Provincial Portfolio Committee on Health
Honourable Executive Mayor of Frances Baard District Municipality
The Honourable Mayor of Sol Plaatje Local Municipality
All Executive and Local Mayors
All Municipal Councilors
Esteemed guests
Representatives from academic and research institutions
Senior Managers, District managers and Departmental officials from the Provincial Department of Health
All NGO’s and strategic partners
Representatives from all the different communities and religious institutions and structures across the Province
Esteemed Members of the media
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is indeed a wonderful privilege and honour for me to address you at this very important gathering today the “Stop TB Indaba” which is designed to make a major statement in our effort to confront TB in our province.
The TB INDABA takes place under the theme:”Working together to fight TB". This theme compels all sectors of society to jointly work together to stop the spread of TB in its tracks.
The Indaba further aims to:
  • Highlight the challenges and achievements faced by the TB Control Programme in the province
  • Identify communities that are poor and particularly vulnerable to TB and its impacts and develop strategies to mitigate these circumstances.
  • Mobilize knowledge, resources and political commitment to address social determinants of health.
  • Chart the way forward in partnership with all stakeholder organizations in achieving a TB free province

This co-ordinated action which will outline the inter-dependence of efforts to control the disease is vital if the province is to achieve its targets by 2014.
As the Northern Cape Province, we are hosting the first ever STOP TB INDABA. The importance of such a platform has long been overdue and from the presence of each and every one of you, I can conclude that we are all here for one common purpose which is to address the challenge of TB in our province.

On 18 February 2010 I noted in my State of the Province Address that: “As TB is a public health challenge it requires the participation of stakeholders to reduce new infections”. As a country and a province, we are all faced with the challenge of TB. It is the responsibility of us all to contribute in our fight against the disease. As government, we call upon all communities and stakeholders to contribute their resources, energy and commitment to really make an impact in addressing the disease.
Ladies and gentlemen, Tuberculosis, coupled with the HIV and AIDS is spreading at an alarming rate through our communities. In addition, we are noting an increased number of people contracting TB and patients not completing and defaulting on their medication.

As the ANC led government of South-Africa, we have an obligation towards the healthcare of our people. In this light, as a response to the call of our people during the April 2009 elections, health has been prioritized as the one of the five key areas together with crime, education, rural development and job creation for the next five years.

In addition, the government, through the health sector, has developed the Ten Point Plan to address the health service delivery challenges we face as a country. The “STOP TB INDABA” is a direct response to Point Seven of the plan namely “Accelerated implementation of the HIV and AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections National Strategic Plan 2007-2011 and increased focus on TB and other communicable diseases”. Furthermore, as a country and part of the global community, South-Africa has the responsibility towards the realization of the Millennium Development Goals(MDG’s) by 2015. This INDABA will directly address Goal 6 namely “Combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and other diseases like TB”.
The scourge of TB in the province is marked by the increased incidence and prevalence rate, the number of deaths, increased Multi-Drug (MDR) TB and the emergence of Extensive Drug Resistant (XDR) TB which is further exacerbated by HIV&AIDS. This poses a major challenge in the management and control of TB. The number of new TB cases increased from 6127 in 2004 to 9569 in 2009. In order to achieve effective TB control, a co-ordinated multi-sectoral approach should be adopted.

The prevention and control of TB is still a challenge and thus warrants the continuous engagement of politicians, government, business, private sector as well as civil society to address the impact of TB in communities. The objectives of the National Strategic Plan 2007-2011 for TB spells out clearly how TB can be controlled in the province and the country through forging a working partnership with all stakeholder organizations. The objectives of the NSP for TB include amongst others Empower communities around TB through the Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization (ACSM) strategy.

This Advocacy, Communication and Social Mobilization (ACSM) strategy is critical to the success of any efforts to control TB and aims to:
  • Mobilize decision makers commitment to TB Control
  • Increase awareness and knowledge about TB
  • Improve case detection and treatment adherence
  • Influence behaviour change
  • Improve quality of health
  • Empower people affected by TB
  • Strengthening the implementation of DOT strategy
  • To address TB, TB &HIV and drug resistant TB
  • To contribute to the strengthening of the health system
  • To work collaboratively with all care providers
  • To coordinate and implement TB research
  • To strengthen TB Infection control at levels of service provision

Programme director, poor adherence to treatment by TB patients, the escalation of the incidence rate of TB and high prevalence of Drug resistant TB has been highlighted as some of the challenges we face in our fight against TB. The province reported a TB default rate of 11.5% for 2007 in comparison to 7.2% for 2006. The number of patients who died whilst on TB treatment remains high, 1034 patients died during 2008.

Despite the intensified education and awareness campaigns, the province still experiences a high proportion TB default rate from treatment in our migrant farming and mining communities as well as in other sectors. During 2006 and 2007, the TB Control programme together with all districts across the province embarked on a partnership drive with stakeholders in an effort to address the socio-economic challenges linked to TB. It is this drive that culminated in the TB Indaba today.

It is worth noting that the importance of strategic partner relationship cannot be overemphasized in our efforts to address TB. Our gratitude and appreciation goes out to participation and involvement of the following partners namely- Department of Sports, Arts and Culture, Education, Social Development, Correctional Services, Agriculture, Minerals and Energy and the Department of Human Settlement, Military Health, Private Health Sector, NGO’s, Home Based Care Givers, Community Development Workers, Clinic Committees, Hospital boards, Political Leadership (Mayor and Councilors), Health Practitioners, Traditional Healers, Traditional leaders and SABCOHA.

In conclusion, the STOP TB Indaba will assist us in the mobilization of resources and contribute toward improving socio-economic status of TB patients in the Northern Cape and therefore contributing towards reduction in the TB scourge. As partners with a strong commitment to Stop TB, we can coordinate our actions to implement the Plan. In acting together as partners, the sum of our efforts will be far greater than if we each acted on our own. Our actions towards a province free of TB, the implementation of the plan will result in hundreds of lives saved.

We acutely aware as the provincial government that we are duty bound not to fail nor falter.
Working together, we can turn the tide in the fight against TB".

Thank you!
Dankie!
Ke aleboga!

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Office of the Premier 
Private Bag X5016 
Kimberley 
8301

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