South Africa’s new National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB, and STIs 2023-2028 and the country’s TB Recovery Plan necessitate a sharp increase in TB testing and increased enrolment into care, which will require additional spending on testing and medicines. Sihle Mahonga Ndawonde argues that a joint committee should be set up to review and interrogate provincial departments’ resource allocation decisions for the next three years.
Almost two years ago, a study found that a breakthrough four-month treatment regimen for tuberculosis is as effective as the current six-month regimen. The time is now to join together for the thoughtful implementation of this new regimen, argue Yuri F. van der Heijden, Violet Chihota, and Salome Charalambous.
Despite advances in paediatric TB care, substantial challenges remain. If we are to heed the call for this year’s World TB Day – ‘Yes! We can end TB’ – we will need to significantly ramp up dedicated investment for an integrated approach to addressing TB in children, argues Dr Sipho Nyathi.
On 9 March, Professor Muki Shey received a silver award from the South African Medical Research Council for his “outstanding contribution to health research”. Shey is spearheading research into TB in healthcare workers from around Cape Town, scanning for those who over at least five years of high exposure to the disease at hospitals or clinics have never been infected. Biénne Huisman spoke to him about his journey from the North West of Cameroon to a lab at UCT and the value of ploughing back to help develop the next generation.
The South African TB Recovery Plan was developed to try and reverse the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s TB response. On World TB Day, authors from TB Proof (a leading TB activist group) assess how the recovery is going and identify four key areas where further intervention is needed.
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.