“We were the first ones to do it”: Innovative SA study takes TB testing to people’s homes

Most tuberculosis (TB) tests still require a trip to the clinic. Now, new technology has made it possible to test people at home. This could be a big deal for South Africa, where much TB goes undiagnosed. Tiyese Jeranji unpacks the findings and implications of a recent study into such TB home testing.

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Slow progress after decision to make TB prevention pills more widely available

Besides preventing illness and death, tuberculosis prevention therapy is estimated to be highly cost effective. Yet, uptake of the medication is not what it could be in South Africa. Tiyese Jeranji asks how much has changed since the Department of Health last year decided to make TB prevention therapy much more widely available.

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Positive signs for new TB testing strategy

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.

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What should the TB priorities be in the new NSP?

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.

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SA piloting mobile X-rays to improve TB detection

South Africa’s first National Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey found that many people without TB symptoms nevertheless have TB disease that can be detected using chest X-rays. Accordingly, new mobile X-ray screening programmes are being piloted in a number of provinces. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

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