- Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 March 2013 13:42
World Tuberculosis Day, falling on March 24 each year, is designed to promote public awareness that tuberculosis today remains an epidemic worldwide, causing the deaths of about 1.4 million people each year, mostly in the third world.
March 24 commemorates the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch astounded the scientific community by announcing that he had discovered the cause of tuberculosis, namely the TB bacillus. At the time of Koch’s announcement in Berlin, tuberculosis (TB) was raging through Europe and the Americas, causing the death of one out of every seven people. Koch’s discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing tuberculosis.
In 1982, on the 100th anniversary of Dr Koch’s presentation, the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) proposed that March 24 be proclaimed the official World TB Day. In 1996, the World Health Organization (WHO) cooperated with the IUATLD and a wide range of other concerned organisations to increase the impact of World TB Day.
Tuberculosis in South Africa
TB is the number one killer of South Africans, even though it is curable. TB is therefore a societal and individual responsibility.
The high HIV infection rate has made the treatment of TB more difficult. South Africans suffering from TB receive a grant during the six months required for treatment; sadly, treatment is purposefully disrupted by some patients in order to continue receiving the grant.
The government has community health workers (directly observed treatment short-course or DOT supporters) who are there to support patients and ensure that they take and complete their treatment. They need our support to be successful in preventing the spread of TB in our communities.
Have you been coughing for two weeks or more, sweating at night, losing weight or appetite? If so, take a stand and have yourself tested for TB.
Testing and being treated for TB is quick and free.
When you have TB
You can keep yourself healthy by doing the following:
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- Exercise daily
- Stop taking alcohol
- Stop taking drugs
- Stop smoking.
Help to prevent the spread of TB by:
- Covering your mouth if you are coughing and sneezing
- Keeping windows in houses, taxis, buses and other places open for circulation of fresh air
- Not spitting on the ground
- Not stopping your TB treatment and medication even if you are feeling better.
Our Employee Wellbeing Programme (EWP) is available 24 hours a day if you want to discuss tuberculosis and what you can do to prevent it or how to treat it. Call us on 0861872862 or email us at
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