Face to face: “Fail your way to success”, says Prof behind pioneering drug discovery group at UCT

Technical work on the discovery of new medicines is not commonly done in South Africa, or Africa, for that matter. One person who is at the forefront of changing this, is Kelly Chibale, a professor in organic chemistry and founder of the pioneering Holistic Drug Discovery and Development Centre – H3D – at the University of Cape Town. Biénne Huisman spoke to Chibale about his fascinating work and his journey from a village in Zambia, across the world, and back to Cape Town.

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In-depth: Why is the Northern Cape missing its TB targets?

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.

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Hospital histories: 151 years later, the drumming of little feet at Brooklyn Chest Hospital

In 1984, the then-head of Brooklyn Chest TB Hospital, Dr David Jenkin lamented inadequate services for TB patients, writing that “it is unflattering to realize that only war and pestilence appear able to bring more beds for TB sufferers”. Almost 40 years later, despite major scientific advances, TB hospitals like Brooklyn Chest remain important for treating complicated forms of the disease, where specialised healthcare staff can monitor medication interactions and side-effects. Biénne Huisman takes a look back at the hospital’s 151-year history and the difference it is making in the lives of children with TB today.

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Community-based testing boosts diagnosis of infectious TB, study finds

Every year, tens of thousands of people who fall ill with tuberculosis in South Africa are not diagnosed. Because of this, there has been much focus on testing people earlier rather than waiting for them to show up at clinics when they are already sick. One potential solution, explored in a trial called XACT 2, is community-based testing using a point-of-care molecular test. Tiyese Jeranji spoke to experts involved with XACT 2 and unpacks the study’s findings that were recently published in Nature Medicine.

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The complex interplay between TB and liver problems

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.

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Opinion: Yes! We can end TB in South Africa

While there is a long way to go, there has been important progress in South Africa’s response to tuberculosis (TB) and 2023 is set up to be a watershed year for the fight against the disease both globally and in South Africa. As we commemorate World TB Day, let us all pledge to make this year’s theme a reality – “Yes! You and I can end TB”, write Gaurang Tanna and Yogan Pillay.

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Almost 40 years with HIV – from ‘dead man walking’ to HIV awareness champion

On December 12, Ntimbwe Munongo Mpamba will celebrate his fortieth birthday with chocolate cake in Northgate, Johannesburg. He was born with HIV but only became aware of his HIV status many years later. Biénne Huisman spoke to him about living with HIV, his early years when his mother fed him medicine disguised as sweets, and now, living openly as an HIV awareness champion.

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