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New TB Plan Hopes to Save Millions
Source: Bua News
Source Date: Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Oct 14, 2010

The new plan follows the launch of the Stop TB Partnership in 2006, whose goals were to reach the MDG of halting and beginning to reverse the epidemic by 2015, and halve TB prevalence and death rates.

Re-launched on Wednesday, the new plan also shows public health programmes how to drive universal access to TB care, including how to modernise diagnostic laboratories and adapt revolutionary TB tests that have recently become available.

Speaking at the event held at Pholosho Primary School in Alexandra, Chairperson of the Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board, Rifat Atun, said the new plan's goals include laboratory strengthening, research and updated targets for TB care.

"The plan aims to reduce deaths and TB prevalence. If we are able to execute the plan, we need to scale up efforts in TB diagnosis, expand capacity to laboratories and develop new vaccines," said Atun.

The plan needs $37 billion to be implemented. Already $11 million has been pledged.

Gauteng Health and Social Development MEC, Qedani Mahlangu, said South Africa was among the 22 countries which bear 80 percent of the burden of TB worldwide. However, the country had made progress in getting rid of TB, with the numbers of infected people declining.

"We've accepted the responsibility of scaling up the fight against TB, HIV and AIDS. We urged the Southern African Developing Community to invest in this plan to help get rid of TB. It's possible for us to stop it," she said.

President and CEO of the Global Business Coalition on HIV and AIDS, John Tedstrom, said the plan's re-launch was desperately needed as TB matters to business.

"TB is bigger than anyone but combining forces, we can stop it," said Tedstrom.



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