Health Ministry launches TB disease prevalence survey
WINDHOEK, 13 JUL (NAMPA) – The first-ever tuberculosis (TB) disease prevalence survey in Namibia was launched by the Ministry of Health and Social Services in the capital on Thursday.
The survey will help the government and its partners to better understand the TB situation in the country and develop better strategies to control it.
Chief Medical Officer, Dr Farai Mavhunga said the survey, which will run from July to December this year, will be carried out in 68 clusters around the country.
“The clusters were selected out of 4 129 clusters in Namibia in such a manner that it is statistically representative of the whole country,” Mavhunga said.
A total of 34 000 people aged 15 years and above are expected to undergo screening.
The fieldwork will commence with interviews on TB symptoms and chest x-rays, after which some of them will be asked to undergo further sputum (a mixture of saliva and mucus) tests.
In a speech delivered on his behalf, Health Minister Bernard Haufiku said the survey is important to the country’s fight against TB, given the fact that it is among the 30 countries in the world with the highest burden of the disease.
World Health Organisation (WHO) reports revealed Namibia as being the fifth highest country with TB incidence rates in 2016.
“During the same year 9 154 cases of TB were reported, giving a case notification rate of 394 per 100 000,” Haufiku added.
The WHO estimates that about 30 per cent of patients with TB in Namibia go undiagnosed, untreated or unreported.
While world health estimates provide a useful basis for planning purposes, the minister noted that it is important to generate accurate data for Namibia in order to inform TB care and prevention efforts.
The disease prevalence survey is the best currently known method to accurately determine a country’s true TB disease burden.
Haufiku said the success of the survey depends on the support of all individuals within the selected clusters.
The survey report is expected to be completed by March 2018.