Inter Press Service Examines TB Epidemic, Effect of HIV/AIDS on Disease in Swaziland
The number of tuberculosis cases in Swaziland has increased from about 1,000 cases annually in 1987 to about 9,600 cases annually today, National TB Control Program Manager Themba Dlamini, said recently, Inter Press Service reports. In addition, Swaziland has the highest HIV prevalence worldwide, Inter Press Service reports. "This escalation of TB cases can be attributed to the HIV/AIDS epidemic," Dlamini said, adding that 80% of people with TB in the country also are HIV-positive. Swaziland's TB detection rate is 57.7%, below the World Health Organization target of 70%, and the country's TB treatment success rate is 42%, compared with the WHO target of 85%. The increase in drug-resistant strains of the disease also is contributing to the situation, Dlamini said.
Dlamini said that efforts to declare TB a national emergency in Swaziland are underway. According to Inter Press Service, efforts to increase human resources, strengthen and decentralize TB services, and promote education about the disease likely will be scaled up if TB is declared a national emergency. "We needed to do serious lobbying to convince the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the National Disaster Management Agency that indeed TB is an emergency," Dlamini said. Swazi Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku in an address on World TB Day last month said that the Swazi government is "aware of the plans under way to declare TB as an emergency" and is supporting such efforts in line with the 2005 Maputo Declaration, which declared TB a continental emergency (Phakathi, Inter Press Service, 4/22).