Climate Change: Fuelling the Deadly Rampage of Tuberculosis
4 April 2024
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Source : Climate Change Advocacy for Lesotho

On World TB Day, as the world focuses on combating one of the oldest and deadliest diseases known to humanity, it’s essential to recognize the intersecting factors exacerbating its spread.

In Lesotho, a small landlocked country surrounded by South Africa, tuberculosis (TB) has reached alarming proportions. With 661 incidents of TB cases for every 100,000 Basotho, the nation grapples with one of the highest TB rates globally.

TB, colloquially known as “consumption” due to its debilitating impact on the body, preys on weakened immune systems, particularly in the presence of HIV/AIDS.

Dr. Llang Maama underscores the critical importance of regular screening, emphasizing that while TB can be remedied, its toll remains devastating.

However, amidst this healthcare crisis looms another formidable challenge: climate change.

The erratic weather patterns induced by climate change compromise agricultural productivity, hindering the production of nutritious foods crucial for bolstering immune resilience. As Lesotho battles to feed its population amidst unpredictable weather conditions, the vulnerability of its people to TB intensifies.

The symptoms of TB—persistent cough lasting more than two weeks, chest pain, and coughing up blood or phlegm—serve as harbingers of a looming health crisis.

Treatment for TB spans three to six months, owing to the bacterium’s slow growth and replication rate.

Despite the challenges posed by this prolonged treatment regimen, it remains a vital component in curbing the spread of TB.

While community sensitization efforts spearheaded by the Ministry of Health are commendable, they alone are insufficient to stem the tide of TB.

Climate Change Advocacy for Lesotho underscores the urgent need for comprehensive interventions, including access to basic services such as clean water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Adequate waste disposal mechanisms and sewage treatment facilities are imperative, alongside subsidies and financial support for clean energy initiatives. Furthermore, regulation of quarry mining and robust community-based Environmental Impact Assessments are crucial steps toward mitigating environmental risks associated with TB transmission.

Implementing these interventions not only addresses the immediate healthcare crisis posed by TB but also fosters climate change adaptation.

Access to clean water and improved sanitation not only reduces the spread of TB but also mitigates environmental risks associated with waterborne diseases.

By investing in sustainable energy solutions and regulating harmful industrial practices, Lesotho can simultaneously combat TB and bolster its resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change.

On this World TB Day, let us acknowledge the intertwined challenges of healthcare and climate change facing communities worldwide.

Only through concerted efforts to address both can we hope to alleviate the burden of TB and build a healthier, more resilient future for all.

Source : Climate Change Advocacy For Lesotho

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