A team of local and international experts engaged to conduct the Lesotho Mid-term National Tuberculosis Survey will present its findings to the ministry of health in Maseru today.
Addressing a mid-term review overview in the capital this week, the ministry’s director general, Dr ‘Nyane Letsie, noted that TB had reached pandemic proportions in Lesotho hence the need for the survey, the report of which will help to determine the magnitude of the problem while at the same time providing data that will enable the country to shape its programmes at national and international level.
“I will not interfere with or intimidate the team that is doing the survey because I would like you to give us an honest mid-term review because it will help us a great deal.
“I am glad that the team also has experts who will not only focus on TB at the end, but will also help us to know if the systems of diagnosis are really up to date and where they are expected. Our laboratories have been inspected and comments have been given, but the question that remains is: are we really where we have to be in terms of meeting the standards?” said Dr Letsie.
She added that TB is one of their priority areas, along with other issues like maternal health but, curable as it is, the country continues to lose the battle against TB, hence the need to know what the country is not doing right because it is among the five countries that were previously doing well in terms of reducing the incidence of TB.
Dr Letsie said Lesotho needs to fast track systems of diagnosis and find missing cases, reduce incidence further and further, and need to increase public awareness while at the same time doing diagnoses regularly and making sure that people do complete their treatment.
“We would like to have a survey that is honest and marketable so that we cannot only share the results with nation but the international world as well, and I do promise you that we will implement the recommendations that will be given,” she said.
Meanwhile, Dr Wilfred Nkhoma of the World Health Organisation, who is also a member of the survey team, said Lesotho will be joining 16 other countries that will have completed their national survey by the end of this year.
“One of the key important issues is for Lesotho to appreciate how big the problem is and after the survey, Lesotho will no longer use estimates on TB prevalence but will use exactly what was found on the ground.
“After the survey, the reports that we will give to the ministry can be used in planning and programming as well as to target some of the communities when implementing the recommendations,” he indicated