In March this year, the director-general of the Northern Cape government, Justice Bekebeke during a parliamentary oversight visit acknowledged that about 80% of the health facilities in the province did not meet their performance targets of finding people with tuberculosis and helping them complete treatment. Refilwe Mochoari looked at the statistics and spoke to several roleplayers about why the province is missing its TB targets.
People in South Africa who fall ill with tuberculosis (TB) often also have other health issues. HIV, which drives much of the TB epidemic in South Africa, is the most obvious co-infection, but people who fall ill with TB are also more likely to have diabetes and mental health problems than the general public. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to local experts about the interesting links between TB and liver problems.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Professor Keertan Dheda has come a long way from growing up as one of three siblings in a one-bedroom apartment in a high-rise in central Durban. Biénne Huisman chatted to Dheda, now the head of the University of Cape Town’s Division of Pulmonology, and a Professor in Mycobacteriology and Global Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, about work-life balance, problem-solving that excites him, and a career dedicated to the fight against tuberculosis.
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.
To combat COVID-19, our country has been able to move millions of people through vaccination sites each month, creating a potential ‘one-stop shop’ for vital health check-ups. In this, healthcare workers have an unprecedented opportunity to reach people they may not otherwise have access to, such as those living with HIV, writes Dhirisha Naidoo.
Tuberculosis (TB) preventive therapy is highly effective in preventing TB disease and death, yet only a few people have access to it. Tiyese Jeranji reports on how Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Khayelitsha is helping TB patients, as well as their contacts, access preventive therapy in the comfort of their homes as part of a new family-centred TB care initiative.
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.
The World Health Organization estimates that over four million of the almost ten million people who fell ill with tuberculosis in 2020 were not diagnosed. One obstacle to more people being diagnosed is the fact that most current tests require people to produce sputum – something children and some people living with HIV find difficult. Tiyese Jeranji looks at a new fingerstick blood test that may help diagnose more people quicker.