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TB survey postponed

Limpho Sello

THE Ministry of health has extended the ongoing tuberculosis survey from August to October 2019.

The ministry’s TB Control Manager Llang Maama said the extension has been necessitated by the suspension of the survey during this year’s Easter holidays.

Dr Maama told the Sunday Express on Thursday that the Easter break was caused by unforeseen challenges which they encountered hence they had to go back to the drawing board.

The survey is targeting 26 000 people country wide and aims at determining the actual number of people infected with TB country wide.

Lesotho has in the past relied on the World Health Organisation (WHO) global TB report whose estimates are taken from the number of patients seen or put on treatment hence the government through the ministry embarked on a survey. The figures place Lesotho in the first place ahead of South Africa among the world’s 30 most TB burdened countries.

According to the 2018 WHO Global TB Report Lesotho is first with 655 TB cases for every 100 000 people.

Subjects who are eligible for the survey are aged 15 years and older.

Dr Maama said one of the challenges they encountered was the subjects’ negative attitude towards the survey. She also said they have so far covered 25 of the 54 clusters that they are targeting. She however, said the 25 clusters so far were an achievement as they would tomorrow embark onto the 26th cluster.

“It is a positive achievement because we will be working on the 26th and 27th clusters on Monday (tomorrow),” Dr Maama said.

“We are currently in a stable position as far as the survey is a concerned because we addressed most of the challenges that hindered our progress such as the lack of HIV councilors who were not always available as well as poor mobilisation in the communities.”

She however, said they still face a challenge of apathy as some targeted subjects of the survey fail to turn up.

“In other clusters we find empty houses while in some instances there will only be children who are under 15 years. That means we would have to spend more time on that particular cluster and go to the hard to reach areas which also translates to more resources being used to transport the staff to the targeted areas.

“Some people just lack understanding and think that we choose certain clusters because of the prevalence of TB but that is not the case. The survey is actually meant to come up with accurate figures in terms of prevalence of TB.

“So, this means that we need to work hard to educate the communities and also strengthen mobilisation,” Dr Maama said.

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