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Project Fact Sheets

TB and Women in South Africa

Aug 2020
TB and women in South Africa

Tuberculosis (TB) remains a major global health concern, accounting for 1.5 million deaths in 2018. South Africa is among eight countries that together contribute two thirds of the world’s TB burden. TB is the leading cause of death in South Africa, particularly among people aged 15 to 44 years, accounting for 6.5 per cent of all natural deaths in 2016. High mortality rates are caused by, among others, late diagnosis, low adherence to TB treatment, and co-infection with HIV, which further weakens and compromises TB patients’ immune systems. While TB is the number one cause of death for men in South Africa and only the number five cause for women, it is important to note that the TB disease can have particularly severe consequences for women, especially during their productive and reproductive years.

Finding Missing TB Patients Report

Aug 2019
Finding Missing TB Patients Report

In 2017, South Africa notified 227,224 tuberculosis (TB) patients against the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) estimations of 332,000 patients in the same year.  This indicates that an estimated 104,776 TB patients were not diagnosed, notified or ever enrolled in the national treatment programmes. These TB patients have in essence been missed by the country’s health system are therefore referred to as “missing TB patients”. The missing TB patients include patients with undiagnosed TB in communities, or those missed by the health system at the time of diagnosis, treatment or reporting. These system constraints pose a major obstacle to achieving the END TB Strategy targets by 2035 and will require further effort and resources. Missing TB patients therefore remain an urgent priority to find and link to proper care.

Implementation of FAST Approach in South Africa

Aug 2019
Implementation of FAST Approach in South Africa

The central pillars of the FAST Approach for tuberculosis (TB) management include Finding TB cases, Actively screening, Separating safely and Treating them effectively to reduce transmission and avoid deaths as a result of TB. The Approach is based on the premise that most transmission of TB occurs from patients with unsuspected TB or unsuspected drug-resistance and whose disease is, therefore, not being effectively managed. The most important aspect of halting the transmission of TB in health facilities is thus to control the period between when a patient presents with a cough or other symptoms of TB, is diagnosed with TB and subsequently initiated on appropriate treatment. It is crucial to find and diagnose TB and drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) patients quickly and accurately in order halt transmission.

Drug-resistant Tuberculosis Service Package: A Patient-Centered Care Case Management Approach

May 2019
Background Drug-resistant Tuberculosis Service Package: A Patient-Centered Care Case Management Approach

To improve the quality of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) care and thus treatment success and cure rates, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) developed A Practical Guide to Delivering Essential Supportive Care to Patients with Drug-resistant Tuberculosis. Many countries are already providing some level of patient support services for DR-TB. Studies show that key barriers to completing DR-TB treatment include poor access to health services and insufficient understanding of the disease and its treatment. Factors such as long treatment timelines; serious side effects of medications, including permanent hearing loss; costs associated with accessing healthcare; pressures on employment; emotional and physical isolation of patients, particularly those dealing with co-morbid conditions, particularly HIV infection; mental illness and substance abuse; high levels of stigma and discrimination experienced by patients and their families; and generally poorer outcomes for patients also contribute to poor treatment outcomes. While South Africa has already made tremendous strides in improving access to DR-TB treatment and care, a 57% treatment success rate for MDR-TB in 2016 is still unacceptably low.   

Focus on key populations: TB in Farms intervention

May 2019
Focus on key populations: TB in Farms intervention

The Global Plan to End Tuberculosis (TB) (2016–2020) has set targets that include reaching 90% of the most vulnerable, underserved and at-risk populations across the globe with relevant TB services1. These groups of people are referred to as key populations, comprising, among others, healthcare workers, prisoners, miners, children, pregnant women, informal communities and migrants.

One year of cross-promotion of TB information using traditional and new media to #EndTB and #BeatTB

Apr 2019
One year of cross-promotion of TB information using traditional and new media to #EndTB and #BeatTB

Tuberculosis remains a significant public health concern in resource-poor communities in South Africa.  Communication has a critical role in supporting biomedical responses to the TB epidemic, especially considering assertions that ‘For perhaps the first time, the world is faced with a health threat against which the only effective barrier is not only medical, but also behavioural. 

Contact management as an effective strategy for finding missing TB cases in community settings in South Africa

Apr 2019
Contact management as an effective strategy for finding missing TB cases in community settings in South Africa

According to the World Health Organization(WHO), Tuberculosis (TB) contacts are people who have close contact with patients with infectious TB and are therefore at high risk of TB infection.  WHO recommends that TB contacts should be investigated systematically and actively for TB infection and disease through a process called ‘tuberculosis contact investigations’. Many studies in countries with a high TB incidence have shown that the prevalence of TB among household contacts may reach 5 per cent or more. Even studies conducted in South Africa identified a high yield of TB cases among household contacts of TB patients and even higher in HIV infected contacts.

Collaboration between Regional Training Centers and the USAID TB South Africa Project

Apr 2019
Collaboration between Regional Training Centers and the USAID TB South Africa Project

Regional Training Centres (RTCs) were established in South Africa in 2003 with the mandate to provide relevant and standardized in-service training to build the capacities of health care workers in providing quality care to patients in all health programmes. Since their establishment, the RTCs have grown from strength to strength as the competencies of health care professionals improved. Fifteen years later, the organisation’s mandate is still relevant to all health care programmes, including the tuberculosis (TB) programme. 

Strategic Partnerships to improve TB management

Apr 2019
Strategic Partnerships to improve TB management

To maximize programmatic synergies and coordination between the USAID TB South Africa Project and district support partners (DSPs) funded by the United States’ President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and working in the same priority districts, USAID TB South Africa Project engaged five PEPFAR DSPs: Anova Health Institute, Right to Care, Maternal Adolescent and Child Health (MatCH), Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (WRHI) and Kheth’Impilo, to identify areas of collaboration in implementing tuberculosis (TB)/HIV activities.

Community-Based TB Management through Local NGOs

Apr 2019
Community-Based TB Management through Local NGOs

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funds the Tuberculosis South Africa Programme, a five-year project (2016–2021) that provides technical assistance to the government of South Africa to reduce TB infections. A key component of the project includes supporting community-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to increase demand for and availability of TB and drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) services, working in partnership with key stakeholders at national, provincial and district levels.

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