Pretoria — As the country prepares to join the rest of the world in commemorating World TB Day on Monday, Cabinet has encouraged South Africans to work together with government to combat the scourge.
World TB Day, observed annually on March 24, is designed to build public awareness that TB still remains an epidemic in most parts of the world, causing the deaths of nearly 1.5 million people each year, mostly in developing countries.
Addressing the media on Thursday following Cabinet's regular meeting, Acting Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Angie Motshekga, said TB was a big challenge for not only South Africa, but the whole of the sub-Saharan Africa region.
"Government programmes to combat TB also include active case finding and contact tracing, and the use of GeneXpert technology to expedite TB diagnosis.
"We pride ourselves in the fact that South Africa is the world leader in the coverage of health facilities with GeneXpert technology," said Minister Motshekga.
She said government's actions in implementing the biggest HIV and Aids treatment and prevention programme in the world have helped to stem the tide of TB.
Cabinet also welcomed the upcoming Ministerial Symposium on Harmonisation of Regional Response to TB in the Mining Sector in Southern Africa.
The symposium, to be held at the Sandton Convention Centre on 25 March 2014, will bring together role players in governments of the region, the mining sector in South Africa, organised labour, development partners and civil society.