Dr Juli Switala (42) has treated children in Nigeria, helped fatally ill patients during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, and delivered babies at a hospital in Afghanistan against a backdrop of upheaval and violence. But nowhere cuts close to her heart quite like Brooklyn Chest – the tuberculosis (TB) hospital on Cape Town’s north-western fringes. Biénne Huisman chatted with Switala about her work in hospitals around the world, the challenges of treating kids with TB, and going for a run to get away from it all.
Despite advances in paediatric TB care, substantial challenges remain. If we are to heed the call for this year’s World TB Day – ‘Yes! We can end TB’ – we will need to significantly ramp up dedicated investment for an integrated approach to addressing TB in children, argues Dr Sipho Nyathi.
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.
When Novel Chegou first arrived in Stellenbosch from Cameroon in 2004 he sold African crafts at a stall next to the town’s village green to save money for his studies. Today, Professor Chegou is one of South Africa’s leading tuberculosis researchers. Biénne Huisman caught up with Chegou shortly after the announcement that he had been awarded the Royal Society Africa Prize.
South Africa last published comprehensive guidelines for the management of childhood tuberculosis (TB) in 2013. Almost a decade later, the guidelines are being updated to recommend a shortened TB treatment regimen for most children with pulmonary TB. Catherine Tomlinson reports.
The screening, diagnosis, and treatment of tuberculosis (TB) in children remain far from optimal – and in many respects lags behind what can be done for adults. Elri Voigt rounds up five developments in paediatric TB presented at the 52nd Union World Conference on Lung Health.
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.
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.
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.