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

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Activists for Peace Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified boarder, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs