Tracing underway to locate 11 000 TB, HIV patients skipping treatment

Tracing underway to locate 11 000 TB, HIV patients skipping treatment

- The Department of Health in Gauteng says its on the hunt for thousands of TB and HIV-positive patients

- It was revealed that over 12 000 patients had not been collecting critical medication during the Covid-19 lockdown

- A plan is in place to trace patients in a bid to stay on top of the situation and avoid any further relapse

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The Department of Health is looking for citizens in Gauteng who failed to collect their TB and HIV medication since the beginning of the national lockdown in March.

With 1 090 TB patients and 10 950 HIV-positive patients sitting without critical medicine during this unprecedented time, the department has commented that:

“Since the lockdown the average percentage reduction in medicine collections for TB is 1.4% and 19.6% for HIV,” read a statement from the Gauteng health department. The department has developed and is implementing a track and trace plan to locate patients who have not come to collect their treatment and manage them accordingly.”

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Ward-based outreach teams have been handed the operation to trace patients, with the Department expressing concern over the implications of missing treatment:

“Supply and transportation of medicines may be disrupted by flight cancellations and travel restrictions. The unavailability of medicines may lead to treatment interruption, which subsequently causes drug resistance and deterioration of patients’ health.

With Covid-19 already posing a major health risk to citizens with underlying conditions, it has been highlighted

“Patients who do not comply with treatment remain vulnerable and may be susceptible to other opportunistic infections, the coronavirus being one of them. Clinicians may have difficulty managing patients with unsuppressed viral loads caused by treatment interruption. Such patients may end up developing complications such as immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome and many other illnesses.”

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