Pholosong Hospital supports TB awareness

Dr Sam Mabaso of Pholosong Hospital is confident the community can beat TB if they co-operate with medical personnel.

In commemoration of TB Awareness Month, Dr Sam Mabaso encourages the community to get tested.

Pholosong Hospital’s Dr Mabaso, one of the champions of TB testing and treatment in Ekurhuleni, says the spread of the disease can easily be avoided.

“Tuberculosis is a curable infection, caused by bacteria.

“After so many years of study and research on it, we do not expect so many people to still be infected, so often.”

Also read: World TB Day: Nutrition plays a huge role in combatting TB

He says the TB ward at Pholosong has seen a surge of patients who are users of the drug known as nyaope.

“This could be largely due to their weakened immune systems and sitting in closed-off spaces,” Mabaso says.

“If one of them is infected, it is easier to infect others in a short space of time.”

The doctor does admit that anyone can get TB.

“There are some groups that are more at risk than others.

“But all of us should be careful at all times.”

The most common way of contracting TB is inhaling the bacteria which are emitted when an infected person coughs.

“It is important to cover your mouth when you cough.

“And maintain a good circulation of air by opening windows at home or in the car.”

Mabaso says anyone who has a cough for more than two weeks should quickly be tested.

“The longer you avoid getting tested, the more people you are likely to infect.

“And that is irresponsible.”

He says the most common symptoms of TB are: coughing, night sweats, fever for more than two weeks, loss of appetite and weigh loss.

He also warns against patients using the standard TB treatment in conjunction with alternative treatments like traditional African medicine.

“One of the major issues that arise with the use of traditional African medicine is dosage.

“Used together with the treatment, it can cause severe damage to the liver and kidney.”

Mabaso says they also see a lot of HIV-positive patients who default on either their TB or ARV treatments.

“Once you are on treatment, you really need to commit to completing it, because even though the damage is not obvious, over time it is irreparable.”

Drug-susceptible TB is usually treated and cured in six months.

However, when patients default on treatment, they usually develop drug-resistant TB.

“Treating drug-resistant TB is more complicated and can take up to two years.”

He says although medical personnel are sympathetic to some of the reasons why patients default, there is no short cut.

“It is important for people to help us, as we help them to have a clean bill of health.”

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Xoliswa Kali

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