Namibia Beating Drug-Resistant TB

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(file photo).

One of the success stories the health ministry and the United States embassy in Namibia will mark on World TB Day on Saturday is that of Nuka K#gao.

K#gao and her brother, !!Ao, were diagnosed with extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis (TB) in 2012. Their parents died of XDR TB in 2011 and 2012.

K#gao said they started treatment in 2011, but did not see any positive change. After a year they were transferred to the Katutura Intermediate Hospital, where they continued receiving treatment.

She said they started taking new medication and it didn't take long for their health to improve. She also said she received all her injections in her chest through a port-o-cath.

"We were no longer coughing like we used to, and our sputum changed from positive to negative," K#gao said.

K#gao told those in attendance at yesterday's event to take a good look at them, as they were healthy and cured. She said they were going back to school and hoped to be with their family soon.

Dr David Uirab, medical superintendent of Windhoek Central Hospital, said Namibia has one of the highest per capita TB prevalence rates in the world. He also said that in 2016, 9 154 cases of TB were reported.

However, this figure was not accurate as many TB cases go undiagnosed or untreated.

Uirab said 391 cases of the drug-resistant TB were reported in 2016 of which 10 were extensively drug-resistant TB.

US ambassador to Namibia Lisa Johnson handed over three electrocardiogram machines to the Ministry of Health and Social Services at yesterday's event, which will be used to measure the electric activity of TB patients' hearts.

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