Minister Mbombo And Minister Grant Launch TB Prevention Campaign 2015
This morning, the Minister for Transport and Public Works, Mr Donald Grant, joined me on a walkabout visit to the Cape Town Station to launch the Open (the) Windows Campaign ahead of World TB Day tomorrow.
This launch was specifically designed to take the message of preventing the spread of TB directly to people who are public transport users. This is why MEC Grant and I targeted people getting on and off taxis, buses and trains, speaking to them about the importance of opening windows in public transport so to create adequate ventilation and help prevent the spread of TB.
This campaign is an attempt to take the fight against TB ‘back to basics’. The Open (the) Windows Campaign is a cost-free initiative that everyone can adopt in order to lessen the risk of contracting TB.
All the Districts in the Western Cape have been tasked with placing emphasis on TB prevention. This entails the use of natural ventilation, wearing of masks in high risk areas and observing cough etiquette.
The TB epidemic is closely associated with inadequate socio-economic living conditions which are often accompanied by bad ventilation. Having enough fresh air circulated is able to decrease the chance of contracting TB.
With millions of people using public transport daily in the province, creating awareness about opening windows will go a long way in preventing the disease. Since TB is an “airborne” disease, proper ventilation is key in the fight against this deadly disease.
The Western Cape Government is working hard to roll-out TB treatment to as many infected patients as possible. The work that we have done is commendable. However, the next phase of this fight must be centred around prevention, wellness and emphasising the responsibility citizens have to keep themselves healthy. This is why the Opening (the) Windows Campaign is important as a first step.
The incidence of drug-sensitive TB (most common form of TB) was approximately 629 new cases per 100,000 of the Western Cape population in 2014 and we have successfully treated 87.1% of those that were infected. However, we can no longer focus our efforts only on curative measures. We need to bring down the number of people contracting the disease dramatically.
This campaign forms a very important part of my vision for health in the province as it is a preventative measure that requires the buy in of those we serve in the public health system.
I am currently working with the Department of Transport and Public Works to craft a strategy that we can employ to spread the word across the province, in all public transport platforms.
The wonderful reception we experienced this morning among those we spoke to is indicative of the fact that people are determined to take responsibility of their health. They understand that we will always achieve more when we work together.