MEC must deal with under-reporting of TB cases in the province

By Dr Imran Keeka, MPL, DA KZN Spokesperson on Health:

DESPITE having one of the highest HIV and by implication co-infection rates of TB, only 60% of health facilities in eThekwini are reporting cases to the KZN Health department.

A similar situation exists within the Harry Gwala municipal area, with 62% of clinics and hospitals reporting new cases.

The information is contained in a parliamentary reply from KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo in response to questions from the DA.

The DA is shocked by these figures.

As one of the biggest killers in South Africa notification to the district and provincial health departments is mandatory.

In failing to accurately report the situation, KZN statistics presented on the actual status of TB as well as TVB co-infection with HIV/ AIDS are being skewed.

This should be very worrying for all organisations that rely on these figures to accurately plan and work towards higher TB cure rates.

It is equally worrying because it affects multiple levels of care as well as cure and even budgeting by the department.

The same reply also gives figures of those who have died from the disease but fails to advise how many new cases there have been during a specific period.

The massive drop in figures for this year can only be put down to the fact that they only reflect the first and possibly early second quarter figures.  Nonetheless, it is a suspicious drop and the DA is committed to submitting follow-up questions for a quarter-on-quarter comparison

The DA expects MEC Dhlomo to hold those responsible for under-reporting on TB figures accountable.

KZN cannot champion dealing with HIV/ AIDS, when the condition commonly associated with it in immuno-compromised patients is not being properly monitored.