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During the recovery speech I delivered in the Western Cape Provincial Parliament yesterday, I detailed the Western Cape Government's plans to fight TB.
TB is one of the leading causes of death in this province but it is also treatable and we must focus on successfully identifying and treating those with TB.
I therefore announced a 90/90/90 strategy which aims to identify 90% of all TB cases and place them on treatment, find 90% of TB cases in vulnerable populations such as those living with HIV and to successfully treat 90% of all those diagnosed with drug-sensitive TB.
This province has 3800 community healthcare workers, who over the past seven months, have played a major role in our Covid-19 community screening programme.
Over this same period, we have seen the number of people attending our healthcare facilities for TB testing and treatment decline. In order to address this, we are now making use of these same community healthcare workers to conduct other screenings in communities and in people's homes to identify other illnesses such as TB.
We will also introduce new technologies to ensure that easy self-screening is possible and will use data management systems to properly track our performance.
As we did with Covid, we will also adopt hotspot-focused, and behaviour change led approaches to prevent the spread of TB amongst those at risk.
I intend to use the Provincial Council on Aids, which I chair to further champion the battle against TB and I will support the Barcelona Declaration's intention of working towards the establishment of a new global parliamentary caucus to press for an urgent response to the TB epidemic.
The Western Cape Department of Health has invested in facilities, healthcare technology and systems for Covid, many of which can be used or adapted to prevent and treat other illnesses such as TB, going forward.
The Western Cape Government is ramping up the delivery of other healthcare services so that people can access the vital healthcare they need, in a way that puts their dignity and well-being first. We believe that the lessons we have learned and the systems we have put in place during Covid-19 will help us to achieve this.