The South African TB Recovery Plan was developed to try and reverse the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s TB response. On World TB Day, authors from TB Proof (a leading TB activist group) assess how the recovery is going and identify four key areas where further intervention is needed.
Some cases of tuberculosis (TB) can be successfully treated in as little as two months – a third of the current standard of six months. This is according to early findings from the landmark TRUNCATE TB trial presented at last week’s Union World Conference on Lung Health. Elri Voigt reports.
Tuberculosis (TB) can be cured, but completing TB treatment can sometimes be difficult. Treatment takes a minimum of six months and some of the medicines have side effects – especially those used to treat drug-resistant forms of TB. Tiyese Jeranji asks what role smart pill boxes could play in helping people complete TB treatment.
A new six-month treatment regimen for drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis is expected to be rolled out in the public sector later this year – current regimens take anything from nine to 18 months. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks why the switch is important and outlines what still needs to happen to make it a reality.
Dr Jennifer Furin has fought drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) since 1995, when she worked as a student in a poverty-stricken suburb in Lima, Peru. Since then she has roamed the world, treating TB and HIV patients in under-resourced countries, including Haiti, Russia, Tajikistan, Bangladesh, eSwatini, Lesotho, and South Africa. Biénne Huisman chatted to Furin about her life working in TB and what it means to see things from the perspective of people living with TB.
For Dr Caroline Pule, a biomedical scientist working in tuberculosis (TB) research, her passion for finding answers that can help ease the suffering caused by diseases such as TB started with a promise she wrote in her diary when she was 13 years old. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to Pule about following her dream of saving lives and teaching young girls to believe in possibilities.
The treatment of drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis has been transformed over the last decade with treatment becoming more effective, safer, and treatment duration in many cases dropping to under a year. Even so, treatment can still come with serious side effects and for some, it can still last over a year and a half. In a finding that may help further reduce side effects, new research has found that the dosage of a key drug can be lowered without compromising how well it works. Tiyese Jeranji and Marcus Low report.
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.
A World Health Organization report published last week showed more people are falling ill with tuberculosis in South Africa than previously thought – but also that the country’s treatment success rate for dangerous drug-resistant forms of the disease have improved. Amy Green asks what’s behind these numbers.
With chronic health worker shortages and limited resources such as ventilators in rural public health facilities, how did Zithulele Hospital in OR Tambo District manage its COVID-19 cases? Tiyese Jeranji spoke to two doctors working at Zithulele about an innovative oxygen solution, infection control, and much more.
Even though it has been ready for months, findings of a critically important tuberculosis survey have not been made public. Every day that passes, the more outdated the findings become, and accordingly the less useful.
Tuberculosis (TB) testing rates are down by almost half and dramatically fewer TB patients are starting treatment. Kathryn Cleary takes an in-depth look at the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown on TB services in South Africa.