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Deputy Minister Mhaule’s response to the DBE Satellite Session of the 7th South African TB Conference

Deputy Minister Mhaule said that the DBE’s response to the SA TB challenge has been clearly outlined in the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV, TB and STIs 2017-2022, aligned to Goals 1, 3 and 4. “These Goals emphasise that the country has to implement a multi-sectoral, holistic and intersectional response towards eliminating TB. To achieve this, we must take the lessons we learnt from our fight against COVID-19 and adapt them for our TB response. In responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country has proven its ability to formulate agile, innovative and effective responses to health challenges. We have done this by adopting a whole-of-society and whole-of-government approach. Our COVID-19 response has also shown us the power of combining a health systems response, with behaviour change through a whole-of-society support response”.

Deputy Minister Mhaule said that the Education Sector is committed to embark on various activities to further strengthen the TB response. “In addition to inputs made during this Satellite Session, we will strengthen our TB focus in the Integrated School Health Programme by ensuring that routine measurements for TB prevention and control in schools are adequate, and that our learners receive TB checks at the time of enrolment. We will raise TB awareness through strengthening the curriculum by adding additional TB content in curriculum materials such as the Life Orientation Workbooks, as well as Learning and Teaching Support Materials. We will improve our health education and awareness campaigns about TB to empower our learners by reviewing and updating, digitising and uploading available Information, Education and Communication materials across social media and communication platforms, and we will continue with our participation and hosting of TB commemoration activities. Through our infrastructure projects, we are improving ventilation and reducing overcrowding in our school settings. With the established Child and Adolescent TB Working Group, that is part of the multi-sectoral South African TB Think Tank, DBE would like to participate closely to be advised on the Education Sector TB response and ensure alignment to TB research and development to make our schools TB Free Zones. We will also expand our Life Orientation Peer Education programmes to revive the Kick TB Awareness Campaign for implementation in a phased approach. These Satellite Session recommendations will support the DBE to initiate a road map towards addressing TB in our schools,” Deputy Minister Mhaule concluded.

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