Western Cape to launch COVID-style tuberculosis dashboard

Western Cape to launch COVID-style tuberculosis dashboard

The COVID-19 pandemic caused huge setbacks for the fight against TB. Now, provinces are developing TB catch-up plans. The Western Cape Department of Health will soon launch a TB dashboard as part of its “multi-sectorial TB emergency response plan”. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

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Support for some TB patients just a phone call away

Support for some TB patients just a phone call away

With just a tap of a finger, some people with drug-resistant tuberculosis can get in touch with a counsellor to get support over the phone. Tiyese Jeranji looks at a telephone support project that has helped keep some people with TB connected with their healthcare workers during the most difficult periods of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Sub-clinical TB: Fascinating SA research helps push frontiers of TB science

Sub-clinical TB: Fascinating SA research helps push frontiers of TB science

While likely millions of people in South Africa have latent tuberculosis (TB) infection, only between three and 10% of these people ever fall ill with TB. Cutting-edge research conducted in South Africa has now taken us a significant step closer to a test that can predict who will and who will not fall ill with TB. Such a test, if simple and affordable, could potentially revolutionise TB prevention efforts.

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X-rays and AI could transform TB detection in SA, but red tape might delay things

X-rays and AI could transform TB detection in SA, but red tape might delay things

New World Health Organization guidance released this week endorses the wider use of chest X-rays and artificial intelligence for tuberculosis detection. Before these technologies can be fully utilised in South Africa, some regulatory and other issues will first have to be sorted out. Catherine Tomlinson reports.

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In-depth: Getting Gauteng’s HIV and TB response back on track

In-depth: Getting Gauteng’s HIV and TB response back on track

From March to July this year, the Gauteng Department of Health recorded 57 848 TB tests – a decrease of about 30 000 tests compared to the same period last year. The province performed better with HIV testing, although the HIV response has faltered in other areas. Melissa Javan makes sense of the province’s numbers and speaks to activists and community health workers about the impact of lockdown on their services and plans to get things back on track.  

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TB in children: Exciting treatment advances, but better tests badly needed

TB in children: Exciting treatment advances, but better tests badly needed

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.

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Treatment time can be cut by a third for most kids with TB

Treatment time can be cut by a third for most kids with TB

Tuberculosis treatment can be shortened from six to four months in 80% of children, according to findings from a landmark study. Amy green reports.

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TB catch-up plan underway in WC but old challenges linger

TB catch-up plan underway in WC but old challenges linger

In 2019 around 360 000 people in South Africa fell ill with tuberculosis (TB) and about 58 000 people died due to the disease, according to a World Health Organization Report released last week. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated these already alarming numbers, with some TB patients stopping treatment during lockdown. Siyabonga Kamnqa looks at the plans the Western Cape Health Department has in place to get its TB programme back on track and finds old challenges still remain.

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TB treatment time cut by a third

TB treatment time cut by a third

A new four-month treatment course for drug-sensitive tuberculosis (the most common form of TB by far) is as safe and effective as the current six-month treatment course that has been in use since the 1980s, according to findings from a large new study. Amy Green reports.

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Some TB patients still required to take pills in front of witnesses

Some TB patients still required to take pills in front of witnesses

Some tuberculosis patients in South Africa are still required to take their pills in front of a healthcare worker or family member. Is this a justified means of ensuring people take their medicine, or is it an invasion of personal autonomy? Elri Voigt asked local TB experts.

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Being young and living with HIV in the time of COVID-19

Being young and living with HIV in the time of COVID-19

Stigma and discrimination makes accessing healthcare services hard for many young people living with HIV. Has it become even harder during the COVID-19 pandemic? Nomfundo Xolo spoke to young people and activists in KwaZulu-Natal.

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COVID-19: Lockdown takes heavy toll on SA’s TB response

COVID-19: Lockdown takes heavy toll on SA’s TB response

Tuberculosis (TB) testing rates are down by almost half and dramatically fewer TB patients are starting treatment. Kathryn Cleary takes an in-depth look at the impact of COVID-19 and the lockdown on TB services in South Africa.

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