News / Africa

African Health Ministers Commit to Ramped Up TB/HIV Treatment

A young patient with potentially fatal MDR TB in isolation in a hospital in South Africa (VOA/D.Taylor)A young patient with potentially fatal MDR TB in isolation in a hospital in South Africa (VOA/D.Taylor)
x
A young patient with potentially fatal MDR TB in isolation in a hospital in South Africa (VOA/D.Taylor)
A young patient with potentially fatal MDR TB in isolation in a hospital in South Africa (VOA/D.Taylor)

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to interview with Dr. Marc Gastellu Etchegorry

Kim Lewis
Health ministers from Swaziland and South Africa have agreed to radically change the diagnosis and treatment of the co-epidemic of TB/HIV in their countries. They made their comments at a press conference held on March 20 in Johannesburg. 

Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, said TB deaths in southern Africa account for 40 percent of all TB deaths globally, and it remains the leading cause of death for people with HIV.  

In addition, death rates are highest among TB patients with multi-drug, or MDR, resistance to tuberculosis because fast and accurate diagnosis is rarely available.

Dr. Marc Gastellu Etchegorry, MSF’s international medical secretary, said the agreement to tackle TB and HIV in a new and innovative way is a real priority not only for the world, but particularly for southern Africa.

"It is a priority because we have a lot of cases by now, and TB is a very good illustration of that.  But one of the problems is that the patients have difficulties in accessing the treatment.  And as we have a lot of people who are moving from one place to another, or one country to another, it is really important to find a new means to deliver the treatment to them," explained Gastellu Etchegorry.

He said the commitments made by Swaziland and South Africa highlighted the importance of centering treatments on the patient and not on the disease.

This, said Gastellu Etchegorry hopefully will be translated into action.

"The action is that we have to deliver diagnosis and treatment close to the patients, build the structure for that," he explained.  "We also have to give the right documents to the patients so if they move they will be able to follow their treatment everywhere.  And this means they have to be harmonized."

Gastellu Etchegorry emphasized the importance of building health structures that are able to diagnose and treat patients suffering from both TB and HIV at the same time. 

"We have to be on the spot where patients are," he said.  In addition, the action plan would involve the support of local authorities and governments to help bring about changes for people with TB/HIV.

The initiative to bring about a more vigorous response to deal with TB/HIV and MDR-TB is being funded by the Global Fund, along with other partnerships, and the mining sector. 

Gastellu Etchegorry says it is not just a matter of money, but of political willingness to bring about radical change for the benefit of the patient.

You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs