Township TB drive highlights disease dangers
SOWETO – A door-to-door campaign conducted at Jabulani Hostel in honour of TB awareness month revealed that while many residents are infected, a high number of them have been defaulting on their treatment.
Lorraine Siko, a health promoter at Zola Gateway Clinic and the event organiser, said “Because our clinic is situated close to the hostel, we saw a need for a TB and HIV door-to-door campaign. Through it we found that there were many young people and pregnant woman who are HIV positive, and some are both HIV and TB positive.”
Lindi Tshabalala, an HIV, Counselling and Testing (HCT) counsellor and co-organiser of the event, said that of the 200 people reached, 30 were infected with HIV, TB or both.
Because our clinic is situated close to the hostel, we saw a need for a TB and HIV door-to-door campaign. Through it we found that there were many young people and pregnant woman who are HIV positive, and some are both HIV and TB positive.
“We found that 20 people between ages of 15 and 49 were HIV and TB positive,” Tshabalala said, adding that all of them lived in Jabulani Hostel, and 15 of them were defaulting on their treatment. And because they all go to the local mall and use the public facilities in the area, they were probably spreading TB across Soweto and Joburg.
“That is one of the main reasons why we decided to run this awareness programme,” said Tshabalala.
Hostel resident Sipho Gumede (38) said: “I was diagnosed with TB last year November, and I have started TB treatment straight away. But I stay alone and sometimes I drink alcohol, so I ended defaulting on my medication. But after meet the team of health workers on their door-to-door campaign, I now understand the importance of taking my treatment regularly until I complete the course.”
Sikhothe Letlojane (58) from Dobsonville said his TB diagnosis caused him to stop drinking and smoking.
“I have just found out on 16 March I have TB. At Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital I was diagnosed with both sputum and x-ray tests and I was then started on treatment. I have accepted the fact that I have TB,” said Letlojane.
His wife Gladys Letlojane (57) said she suspected she might also have TB as the couple lived together.
“Since I am his wife and sharing all most everything in the house, it is possible that I am also infected with TB. I want to test as early as possible,” she said.