SA piloting mobile X-rays to improve TB detection

SA piloting mobile X-rays to improve TB detection

South Africa’s first National Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey found that many people without TB symptoms nevertheless have TB disease that can be detected using chest X-rays. Accordingly, new mobile X-ray screening programmes are being piloted in a number of provinces. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

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400 people in SA with highly drug-resistant TB to get new three-drug regimen

400 people in SA with highly drug-resistant TB to get new three-drug regimen

Treating highly drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis can take anything from nine to 24 months and patients have to contend with various unpleasant, and sometimes dangerous, side effects. A new six-month regimen made up of just three drugs that will be offered to 400 patients in South Africa might offer a better solution for some. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

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X-rays and AI could transform TB detection in SA, but red tape might delay things

X-rays and AI could transform TB detection in SA, but red tape might delay things

New World Health Organization guidance released this week endorses the wider use of chest X-rays and artificial intelligence for tuberculosis detection. Before these technologies can be fully utilised in South Africa, some regulatory and other issues will first have to be sorted out. Catherine Tomlinson reports.

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TB in children: Exciting treatment advances, but better tests badly needed

TB in children: Exciting treatment advances, but better tests badly needed

Children shoulder approximately 12% of the global TB burden, and this proportion is likely higher in high TB burden countries. In South Africa, up to 30 000 children develop TB each year. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to TB expert, Dr Megan Palmer from Brooklyn Chest Hospital about treatment challenges and how to improve TB detection and treatment outcomes in children.

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TB catch-up plan underway in WC but old challenges linger

TB catch-up plan underway in WC but old challenges linger

In 2019 around 360 000 people in South Africa fell ill with tuberculosis (TB) and about 58 000 people died due to the disease, according to a World Health Organization Report released last week. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these already alarming numbers, with some TB patients stopping treatment during lockdown. Siyabonga Kamnqa looks at the plans the Western Cape Health Department has in place to get its TB programme back on track and finds old challenges still remain.

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COVID-19: The fascinating science of what happens in the lungs

COVID-19: The fascinating science of what happens in the lungs

People with COVID-19 and people with tuberculosis (TB) can experience similar symptoms such as coughing and breathing difficulties as both diseases affect the lungs. Exactly how these diseases affect the lungs, however, differs. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to a leading South African pulmonologist to learn more.

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Some TB patients still required to take pills in front of witnesses

Some TB patients still required to take pills in front of witnesses

Some tuberculosis patients in South Africa are still required to take their pills in front of a healthcare worker or family member. Is this a justified means of ensuring people take their medicine, or is it an invasion of personal autonomy? Elri Voigt asked local TB experts.

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Drop in DR-TB detection points to “crisis” in SA’s TB response

Drop in DR-TB detection points to “crisis” in SA’s TB response

A leading TB doctor says that “it is no exaggeration to say there is a TB crisis in the country”, and that “the impact of this crisis could be even more devastating than COVID-19”. Kathryn Cleary explores the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on South Africa’s TB response and the way forward.

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COVID-19: Don’t take BCG vaccine away from kids who need it for TB, experts say

COVID-19: Don’t take BCG vaccine away from kids who need it for TB, experts say

The use of the BCG vaccine for an unproven indication is irresponsible and may deplete BCG stocks for young children, for whom it has been proven to be a lifesaving preventive tool against TB, argue a group of leading experts.

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TB in children: The amazing research being done in Cape Town

TB in children: The amazing research being done in Cape Town

Medicines that taste like strawberries or mangos, cutting edge trials on preventing TB in kids, measuring how children’s bodies take up TB medicines – in this World TB Day feature Kathryn Cleary profiles the amazing research done by the Desmond Tutu TB Centre in Cape Town.

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