Windhoek — Although the number of tuberculosis (TB) cases remains high in Namibia, there has been a significant reduction by 25 percent from 2010, when 12,000 cases were reported, to 9,000 cases.
Pinehas Iipinge, the advocacy communication and social mobilisation officer of the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Programme in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, says despite this decline the TB burden remains high.
"The country remains among the thirty high tuberculosis-burden countries in the world with more than 1,600 people estimated to have died as a result of TB in 2016," said Iipinge.
He also explained the current TB data is based more on estimates. And, to get more specific data, the health ministry last year in July embarked on a disease prevalence survey to determine the current TB burden in Namibia. The survey will end this week.
"The results from the survey will help the Government of the Republic of Namibia and its partners to better understand the TB situation in the country and develop better strategies to control it. The findings will also enable more efficient allocation of resources for TB prevention and care," added Iipinge.
The survey was carried out in 68 clusters. The clusters were selected out of 4,129 clusters in a manner that it is statistically representative of the whole country, Iipinge explained.
"The survey was designed to screen 34,000 people aged 15 years and above for TB. People aged above 15 were chosen because they can easily understand instructions and cough up a sputum sample for testing if they are asked to. We thank the community for participating in the survey."
Meanwhile, March 24 is World TB Day and in Namibia the day will be observed on March 28 at the Katutura Youth Sport Complex. The theme for the World TB Day commemorations is "Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free World."
The campaign targets the general population, said Iipinge.
"For Namibia, this is the opportunity to call for commitment from all leaders around the country to show commitment towards ending TB."