On September 22 ministers, heads of state, and other officials from around the world will gather in New York for the second United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB. Yet, a few months ago it was not the governments these officials represent, but two philanthropies that stepped in to ensure arguably the most important TB trial of the decade has the funding needed to proceed. Marcus Low contrasts commitments made at the previous UN High-Level Meeting on TB with recent data on funding for TB research and asks what this tells us about the state of the global response to an age-old killer.
Tracing the close contacts of people ill with tuberculosis (TB) and offering them TB preventive therapy is part of South Africa’s strategy to fight TB. A recent analysis found that such an approach of tracing household contacts and providing them with TB preventive treatment is cost-effective and would – by 2025 – cut deaths by 35% among household contacts of all ages and people living with HIV. In light of these new findings, Tiyese Jeranji assesses the state of contact tracing in South Africa’s public healthcare system.
South Africa’s National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs (2023 – 2028) was launched on Friday at Tlhabane Stadium in Rustenburg, North West as the world commemorated World TB Day. Nthusang Lefafa attended the event and spoke to experts and activists about the state of TB and HIV and the work that lies ahead with the new NSP.
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.
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.
The Mpumalanga Health Department plans to repurpose three TB hospitals due to dwindling numbers of in-patients at these hospitals. The hospitals – Bongani TB Hospital, Standerton TB Hospital, and Barberton TB Hospital – will be used for other health services. Nthusang Lefafa asked the department what prompted this and what it means for the TB response in the province.
South Africa’s National Department of Health is set to receive a donation of child-friendly formulations of several medicines used to treat drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB). It is expected that over the next year the donation will spare roughly 200 children the substantial difficulties associated with taking DR-TB medicines meant for adults.
Tuberculosis (TB) disease and all the disruption and stress that goes along with it can take a toll on someone’s mental health, and mental health problems can in turn make someone more vulnerable to TB. In the wake of World Mental Health Day 2022, Tiyese Jeranji explores the complex links between mental health and TB.
In 2015, the World Health Organization recommended a urine test that helps with the detection of tuberculosis (TB) in people living with HIV who are hospitalised or who have compromised immune systems. While uptake of this test in South Africa was initially quite slow, numbers presented at the recent South African TB Conference suggest that the use of the test is now increasing. Tiyese Jeranji reports.
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.
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.
Tuberculosis can be challenging to diagnose in children, especially very young children. This is because it is difficult for them to cough up the sputum required by gold standard molecular tests and because they have fewer TB organisms in their sputum than adults. X-ray screening may be part of the solution, but it has shortcomings. Following some interesting recent study findings, Tiyese Jeranji asks what role lung ultrasound may have in improving TB detection in kids.