14 July 2017

Namibia: Nationwide Tuberculosis Survey Targets 34,000 People

The Health Ministry launched the country's first ever national tuberculosis disease prevalence survey (TB-DPS), this week in Windhoek.

Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Benard Haufiku in his address said, the Tuberculosis Disease Prevalence Survey (DPS) is the best currently known method to accurately determine a country's true TB disease burden.

"The survey will help the government and partners to better respond to the country's TB epidemic and prudently allocate the increasingly scarce resources," he said.

Dr Benard Haufiku said the survey will be carried out in all 14 regions in the country between July and December 2017, with clusters selected so as to be representative of the country's population.

"In total the survey aims to enrol 34,000 people aged 15 years and above, who will be asked for symptoms of TB as well as having their chest x-rays taken," he said.

He said that the success of the survey therefore hinges on the support of all individuals within these clusters.

"For this reason I therefore urge and encourage all individuals in the selected clusters to participate in the survey; after all, it is a rare opportunity to have state-of-the art x-ray screening for lung disease, being brought to the community," he added.

Meanwhile, the ministry will work in collaboration with the other partners like World Health Organization (WHO), Namibia Statistics Agency, Institute of Pathology, USAID and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Currently Namibia is among the 30 countries in the world with the highest burden of TB; in fact we had the fifth highest TB incidence rate in 2016.

During the same year 9,154 cases of TB were notified, giving a case notification rate of 394 per 100,000. Despite this alarmingly high number of cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that about 30% of patients with TB in Namibia go undiagnosed, untreated or unreported.

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