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International News

Swaziland Battles Twin Plagues of HIV, TB

November 4, 2009

The companion scourges of TB and HIV have so devastated the population of Swaziland that they threaten to destabilize the nation, participants at a recent three-day local conference on the epidemics learned.

"This double epidemic of HIV and TB means that life expectancy has fallen to under 32 years in Swaziland," said Aymeric Peguillan, head of mission for Doctors Without Borders (DWB).

Annually, about 14,000 new TB cases are diagnosed in Swaziland's population of 1.1 million, Peguillan said. Eighty percent of the country's TB patients also have HIV, according to the organization.

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Swaziland has few resources to combat the epidemic. Some 80 percent of its residents live in impoverished rural areas. The country has few physicians and no medical school.

DWB nurse Joyce Sibanda is one of four nurses at a Nhlangano clinic serving more than 100 patients every day.

"The workload is a lot, there are many registers and forms to fill in," Sibanda said. "We have also started the integration process where if someone has TB and [is] also HIV-positive they can take medication in one place, unlike before where people had to go to different places to get medication."

Back to other news for November 2009

Adapted from:
Agence France Presse
10.30.2009; Tabelo Timse


  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 
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