Opinion: WHO numbers underscore urgent need for stronger leadership and ambitious TB recovery plan

Opinion: WHO numbers underscore urgent need for stronger leadership and ambitious TB recovery plan

According to new estimates from the World Health Organization around 61 000 people died of TB in South Africa in 2020, an increase of around 5% over 2019. That works out to over 1 100 TB deaths in the country every week. We urgently need a transparent TB recovery plan and we need both President Cyril Ramaphosa and Health Minister Joe Phaahla to invest real political capital in the implementation of the plan, the authors argue.

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In-depth: Landmark moment as AI beats humans in reading X-rays for TB

In-depth: Landmark moment as AI beats humans in reading X-rays for TB

“The results are in: artificial intelligence (AI) outperforms humans at reading chest X-rays for signs of tuberculosis,” proclaimed a recent newsletter of the Stop TB Partnership. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to a variety of experts about the landmark study behind this proclamation and asked what AI-aided X-ray interpretation may mean for countries like South Africa with high TB burdens.

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Eastern Cape health services hamstrung by staff and medicine shortages, report finds

Eastern Cape health services hamstrung by staff and medicine shortages, report finds

Findings of a clinic monitoring report released last week, again highlighted how delivery of health services in the Eastern Cape are hamstrung by staff and medicine shortages. Luvuyo Mehlwana unpacks the data and the provincial health department’s plans to address the challenges identified in the report.

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Human resource issues at root of Free State health problems, report suggests

Human resource issues at root of Free State health problems, report suggests

Shortages of healthcare workers are contributing to long waiting times at healthcare facilities, poor treatment adherence, and are undermining the response to HIV and tuberculosis (TB) in the Free State, findings in a new report show. Refilwe Mochoari attended the launch of the report and asked the Free State Department of Health for its response.

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Women in Health: Young TB researcher blazing a trail

Women in Health: Young TB researcher blazing a trail

For Dr Caroline Pule, a biomedical scientist working in tuberculosis (TB) research, her passion for finding answers that can help ease the suffering caused by diseases such as TB started with a promise she wrote in her diary when she was 13 years old. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to Pule about following her dream of saving lives and teaching young girls to believe in possibilities.

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Efforts to vaccinate the homeless stumbling over red tape

Efforts to vaccinate the homeless stumbling over red tape

South Africa’s COVID-19 vaccination programme currently requires that people enter an identity number when registering on government’s electronic system and present an identity document when they go to get jabbed. This makes it hard for homeless people without IDs to get vaccinated. Siyabonga Kamnqa reports from the streets of Cape Town.

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Important TB drug as effective at lower dose, study finds

Important TB drug as effective at lower dose, study finds

The treatment of drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis has been transformed over the last decade with treatment becoming more effective, safer, and treatment duration in many cases dropping to under a year. Even so, treatment can still come with serious side effects and for some, it can still last over a year and a half. In a finding that may help further reduce side effects, new research has found that the dosage of a key drug can be lowered without compromising how well it works. Tiyese Jeranji and Marcus Low report.

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OPINION: Community-Led Monitoring Dashboard Reveals the Crisis in SA’s Clinics

OPINION: Community-Led Monitoring Dashboard Reveals the Crisis in SA’s Clinics

Data collected by the Ritshidze community-led healthcare monitoring project is now being shared through a new, publicly accessible online dashboard. Authors involved with the project explain the kinds of insights this rich new data source can give on healthcare services in South Africa.

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IN-FOCUS: How to protect hospitalised infants from dangerous germs

IN-FOCUS: How to protect hospitalised infants from dangerous germs

Outbreaks of hospital-acquired infections such as Klebsiella have claimed the lives of infants and made headlines on a number of occasions over the last decade. Tiyese Jeranji looks at how the germs involved spread, how common these infections are, and what can be done to prevent outbreaks.

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Health and Unrest: Counting the cost and getting people their medicines

Health and Unrest: Counting the cost and getting people their medicines

As the country is still calculating the tally of the vaccine stock and medicines stolen in last week’s unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, there is still a lot of uncertainty about plans to restore medicine security.

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Old struggles persist for CHWs in Free State

Old struggles persist for CHWs in Free State

Seven years after over 100 community health workers were arrested during a vigil at the provincial health department’s headquarters, Bophelo House, the struggles of community healthcare workers in the Free State continue as they are still calling for job security. Refilwe Mochoari reports.

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Opinion: Could community health workers be the answer to reducing Tuberculosis stigma?

Opinion: Could community health workers be the answer to reducing Tuberculosis stigma?

Tuberculosis stigma thrives when TB is spoken about in hushed whispers, or behind closed doors. The truth is anyone who breathes can get TB as it is an airborne disease like COVID-19. We can all reduce the harmful effect of TB stigma in our communities by taking part in activities that break down false and unfair attitudes towards people with TB. Community health workers are leading the way and deserve more support, write authors from TB Proof.

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