Opinion: Six ways clinics can help turn the tide on TB infection

Six simple interventions are at the heart of how clinics can be part of turning the tide on TB infection. By following a checklist of good practice, clinics can be safer for patients and staff. However, most clinics are failing to implement enough of these measures, putting people at risk of getting TB while waiting at the clinic, argues representatives from the community clinic monitoring group Ritshidze.

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SA piloting mobile X-rays to improve TB detection

South Africa’s first National Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey found that many people without TB symptoms nevertheless have TB disease that can be detected using chest X-rays. Accordingly, new mobile X-ray screening programmes are being piloted in a number of provinces. Tiyese Jeranji reports.

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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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Opinion: Health budget slashed despite vaccine commitments

The national budget tabled this week shows that planned spending on public health is reduced by a massive R50.3 billion over the next three years. We cannot accept a vaccine versus health system trade-off. Government must both expedite the procurement of vaccines and ensure that provinces have the staff and other capabilities to rapidly roll them out and to maintain and improve the quality of healthcare services, argue writers from SECTION27.

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CSOs want disability grants reinstated

The South African Social Security Agency’s decision to suspend temporary disability grants in December left over 210 000 beneficiaries without an income – including some DR TB patients who rely on this grant to stay on treatment. Elri Voigt investigates.

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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

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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Eastern Cape government mum on TB plans and numbers

Numbers from the National Institute of Communicable Disease and from some provinces show that TB diagnoses have dropped dramatically in 2020 – likely due to COVID-19 and the related lockdown. The Eastern Cape Department of Health has however declined to share information on the TB situation in the province and their catch-up plans. Some activists are concerned about the situation. Luvuyo Mehlwana reports.

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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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