Every year, tens of thousands of people who fall ill with tuberculosis in South Africa are not diagnosed. Because of this, there has been much focus on testing people earlier rather than waiting for them to show up at clinics when they are already sick. One potential solution, explored in a trial called XACT 2, is community-based testing using a point-of-care molecular test. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to experts involved with XACT 2 and unpacks the study’s findings that were recently published in Nature Medicine.
South Africa’s recently published guidelines for the treatment of tuberculosis (TB) infection have been welcomed by several experts. Among others, the guidelines endorse the use of a three-month course of TB preventive therapy as opposed to the old six-month course. But, while the intention is to roll out the three-month course quite widely, supply constraints may delay things. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
New tuberculosis infection guidelines released ahead of World TB Day are another important step in the right direction for South Africa’s TB response, argues Spotlight editor Marcus Low, while also warning of the substantial implementation challenges that remain.
Many people with tuberculosis (TB) in South Africa are never diagnosed or are diagnosed only once their symptoms have become quite severe. One solution to diagnosing more people more quickly is the expanded use of new digital X-ray technology. Now, an independent assessment of digital X-ray pilot projects in six districts in South Africa sheds light on how well this intervention works in the real world. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
One of the key recommendations from the National TB Prevalence Survey released last year was to increase “access to TB screening and testing services through outreach programmes using mobile testing and X-ray facilities”. Tiyese Jeranji takes stock of the number of mobile X-ray vans and containers across the country and plans to scale up their use.
The period covered by South Africa’s National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV, TB, and STIs 2017 – 2022 will soon come to an end. Against the backdrop of another World TB Day, Tiyese Jeranji asked several local tuberculosis experts what they think the TB priorities should be as South Africa develops an NSP for the next five years.
It is estimated that over 100 000 of the over 300 000 people who fall ill with TB in South Africa every year are not diagnosed. As a result, improving TB screening and testing has become a high priority in South Africa’s TB response. Coinciding with World TB Day 2022, Spotlight editor Marcus Low examines new information shared by the National Department of Health and assesses the state of the country’s TB case-finding efforts.
Investing in tuberculosis means that everyone has a stake in eliminating TB as a public health threat in our country: every person, every family, every community, every organisation (public and private) as well as government, writes Dr Yogan Pillay and Gaurang Tanna.
The COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns have dealt a severe blow to South Africa’s tuberculosis (TB) response. Tiyese Jeranji asked government about its plans to get TB diagnosis, treatment, and prevention services back on track.
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.
“The results are in: artificial intelligence (AI) outperforms humans at reading chest X-rays for signs of tuberculosis,” proclaimed a recent newsletter of the Stop TB Partnership. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to a variety of experts about the landmark study behind this proclamation and asked what AI-aided X-ray interpretation may mean for countries like South Africa with high TB burdens.
Tuberculosis stigma thrives when TB is spoken about in hushed whispers, or behind closed doors. The truth is anyone who breathes can get TB as it is an airborne disease like COVID-19. We can all reduce the harmful effect of TB stigma in our communities by taking part in activities that break down false and unfair attitudes towards people with TB. Community health workers are leading the way and deserve more support, write authors from TB Proof.