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.
South Africa’s tuberculosis (TB) testing numbers have recovered from dramatic declines in 2020, delegates heard at the opening of the 7th South African TB Conference in Durban. The Department of Health also provided some details of its TB recovery plans and targets. Tiyese Jeranji reports from Durban.
Under a new tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis strategy, people considered to be at high risk of TB are offered molecular TB tests, even if they do not have any symptoms. A landmark study in 2020 showed that such a strategy can help diagnose more people more quickly. Now, early indications are that it also works in the real world and South Africa’s lab service says they can cope with the increased demand. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic has stymied the progress of the tuberculosis response across the world, the call for increased investment is important. Although health programmes can always do with more financial assistance, in South Africa, for its TB Recovery Plan to work, the focus should be on the strategic use of existing resources, argues Russell Rensburg.
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.
Roughly two in five people newly ill with TB worldwide are never diagnosed. In South Africa, this amounts to about 120 000 to 160 000 people per year. A large new study called XACT III is testing ways in which more people can be diagnosed and started on TB treatment more quickly. Tiyese Jeranji reports.