Opinion: WHO numbers underscore urgent need for stronger leadership and ambitious TB recovery plan

Opinion: WHO numbers underscore urgent need for stronger leadership and ambitious TB recovery plan

According to new estimates from the World Health Organization around 61 000 people died of TB in South Africa in 2020, an increase of around 5% over 2019. That works out to over 1 100 TB deaths in the country every week. We urgently need a transparent TB recovery plan and we need both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Joe Phaahla to invest real political capital in the implementation of the plan, the authors argue.

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After setbacks, rollout of new TB prevention pills to start in six districts

After setbacks, rollout of new TB prevention pills to start in six districts

After various delays and setbacks, a new, less toxic, short-course tuberculosis preventive therapy called 3HP is finally being launched in six districts in South Africa. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

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Support for some TB patients just a phone call away

Support for some TB patients just a phone call away

With just a tap of a finger, some people with drug-resistant tuberculosis can get in touch with a counsellor to get support over the phone. Tiyese Jeranji looks at a telephone support project that has helped keep some people with TB connected with their healthcare workers during the most difficult periods of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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CSOs want disability grants reinstated

CSOs want disability grants reinstated

The South African Social Security Agency’s decision to suspend temporary disability grants in December left over 210 000 beneficiaries without an income – including some DR TB patients who rely on this grant to stay on treatment. Elri Voigt investigates.

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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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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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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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Disability grant delays take heavy toll

Disability grant delays take heavy toll

During the strictest phases of South Africa’s COVID-19 lockdown, the South African Social Security Agency effectively stopped accepting new disability grant applications. Elri Voigt explores what happened and speaks to two applicants on the impact the disruptions have had on their lives.

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A convenient untruth: The TB Proof healthcare worker

A convenient untruth: The TB Proof healthcare worker

We were told the planned release date for an occupational health policy to protect healthcare workers was World tuberculosis Day, 24 March 2017. Three World TB Days later and with a new epidemic claiming the lives of healthcare workers we are still waiting for the policy, writes Dr Arne von Delft.

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