Debate in parliament: Corona can, like TB, have deadly consequences for South Africans

2020-03-13
Fanie du Toit

At present, tuberculosis is the deadliest disease in South Africa. But the Coronavirus could soon be its greatest competitor.

According to statistics published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), 63 000 people died in South Africa in 2018 due to tuberculosis, while the disease affected the health of approximately 301 000 people.

The FF Plus believes that these estimations are conservative and that the actual number probably lies between 215 000 and 400 000. South Africa has more than 880 new infections every day.

It is the country's biggest cause of death and matters are made much worse by the HIV epidemic as approximately 7,4 million people have contracted the HIV infection. Seen in the light of all this, it is clear that Corona could wreak havoc in South Africa.

If the government is not even able to win the fight against a curable disease, like tuberculosis, it raises the question of whether it will be able to protect South Africans against the Coronavirus.

Medicine must be available at all times. A report by the Treatment Action Campaign, however, indicates that the country's public health care system is so dysfunctional that it is sabotaging the implementation of HIV and tuberculosis programmes.

National Health Insurance (NHI) will be a total disaster. Hospitals and clinics are in disrepair and cannot provide adequate care and treatment to tuberculosis patients. The FF Plus is opposed to the NHI seeing as our current health care system is not even fully functional.

With regard to Corona, all medical, support and even pharmacy personnel must be provided with the necessary protective gear. They are in the front line of defence in the fight against diseases and must, therefore, enjoy protection at all times.


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