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At least 700 deaths and 8,800 new tuberculosis (TB) related infections were recorded in Namibia in the year 2017, the Ministry of Health has reported.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC
Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria/CDC

Addressing the recent launch of a parliamentary caucus on TB in the capital Windhoek, Deputy Health Minister Juliet Kavetuna said 800 of the 8,800 new infected cases were children under the age of 14.

“For our small population (of around 2 million), 700 many deaths is far too many from one disease. This will have a devastating impact across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional goal of achieving the World Health Organisation’s End TB Strategy by 2035. Namibia is also negatively affected,” she said.

The minister noted that Namibia was making slow progress in the fight against TB due to the negative impact of multiple factors including low incomes, poor living conditions, HIV/Aids and malnutrition.

To end the epidemic, these need to be addressed by the government to end the epidemic. According to WHO ratings, Namibia is one of the top 30 high TB disease burden countries in the world, with an estimated 446 TB cases confirmed per 100,000 people since 2016.