At the age of 19 Phumeza Tisile contracted multidrug-resistant tuberculosis. For four years she battled the disease, losing her hearing in the process. At one stage, a doctor told her to visit a priest and prepare her soul for death. Recently, Tisile (now 33) made it on to TIME magazine’s 2023 TIME100 Next list, as one of 100 emerging leaders round the world who are “shaping the future and defining the next generation of leadership”. Sue Segar chatted to Tisile about her remarkable journey.
An estimated 54 000 people died of tuberculosis in South Africa in 2022 and around 280 000 fell ill with the disease, according to just-released figures from the World Health Organization. Catherine Tomlinson unpacks the figures and what they mean for the country’s TB response.
For the past 128 years, a hospital tucked away on what was once a rural farm in Johannesburg East has been fighting to turn the tables on a disease that has plagued humankind for millennia. Ufrieda Ho has the latest in Spotlight’s special series of ‘Hospital Histories’.
A new report from the Lancet Commission on Tuberculosis (TB) titled ‘Scientific advances and the end of tuberculosis’ makes several recommendations for how governments should go about fighting the deadly, but curable, disease. Spotlight editor Marcus Low puts the Spotlight on how South Africa’s TB programme is measuring up against the recommendations.
Almost two years ago, a study found that a breakthrough four-month treatment regimen for tuberculosis is as effective as the current six-month regimen. The time is now to join together for the thoughtful implementation of this new regimen, argue Yuri F. van der Heijden, Violet Chihota, and Salome Charalambous.
On 9 March, Professor Muki Shey received a silver award from the South African Medical Research Council for his “outstanding contribution to health research”. Shey is spearheading research into TB in healthcare workers from around Cape Town, scanning for those who over at least five years of high exposure to the disease at hospitals or clinics have never been infected. Biénne Huisman spoke to him about his journey from the North West of Cameroon to a lab at UCT and the value of ploughing back to help develop the next generation.
An HIV prevention injection approved in South Africa, several promising developments on the tuberculosis front, the National Health Insurance Bill grinding its way through Parliament, no end in sight to healthcare worker shortages, another dire year for health in Gauteng – Spotlight wraps up 2022 in under 1 000 words.
Dr Francesca Conradie knew she wanted to be a doctor when she was eight years old. Now, 50 years later, she is a pioneer in the field of tuberculosis (TB) and led a landmark trial that changed how drug-resistant TB is treated. Aisha Abdool Karim spoke to her about the reasons behind her switch from HIV research to TB, her initial surprise at the remarkable NiX trial results, and the man who has shaped her life – her father.