TB

Harsh price of HIV-linked longevity

HIV+ people on ARVs are now living longer lifespans. But the virus's associated diseases could put an unbearable strain on the health system.

Research studies show that people with HIV who are on antiretroviral (ARV) treatment now live almost as long as their HIV-negative peers.

But this gain in life years also has a downside: it has put HIV-infected people at risk of developing non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol, which normally only appear in older people.    

The Roadmap for Childhood TB: Toward Zero Deaths

Published by: 
World Health Organization

The urgency of the problem of TB in children, whose full scope is still not fully known, cannot be underestimated. World Health Organization (WHO) estimates in 2012 revealed that up to 74 000 children die from TB each year and children account for around half a million new cases annually. It should be noted that the estimated deaths only include those in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative children. In fact, the actual burden of TB in children is likely higher, especially given the challenge in diagnosing childhood TB. Compounding this difficulty with diagnosis is the fact that children with TB often come from families that are poor, lack knowledge about the disease and live in communities with limited access to health services.

New funding models needed ‘to fight cancer in poor nations’

A global fund is needed to curb ballooning cancer rates in poor nations, where malignancies already kill more people than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria combined, a report by a coalition of researchers shows.

Progress against infectious diseases, aided by organisations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, has helped to extend life expectancy. As people live longer, other illnesses such as cancer are more likely to develop.

In sub-Saharan Africa, the number of new cancer cases will double in the next 15 years, straining medical systems in the region, the researchers said at the European Cancer Congress in Amsterdam on Monday.

TB in South African prisons: WHERE TO NOW?

South Africa stands at a crossroads in the fight against tuberculosis. An important victory in the Constitutional Court has affirmed the direction that we should take, but we need sustained political will and activism to ensure that we do not squander this momentum.

 The Dudley Lee case

Dudley Lee spent over four years in Pollsmoor Prison outside Cape Town as an awaiting trial detainee. Eventually he was acquitted and released, but not before being infected with tuberculosis.

Community health hub extends Khayelitsha care

Doctors Without Borders is launching a new healthcare project in Khayelitsha. The humanitarian organisation will run a community health hub for a year, after which the Department  of Health will take over.

The Wellness Hub in Khayelitsha looks like a basic structure, but it could provide the basis for the much-anticipated National Health Insurance scheme.

The emphasis is on quality health care that is easily accessible.

The Wellness Hub attends to a range of illnesses and diseases such as HIV,TB, sexually transmitted infections, diabetes and hypertension.

The centre could significantly lower health-care costs.

'NHI will benefit the entire region'

An effective healthcare system will free up donor money for more desperate countries.

South Africa's National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme will play a crucial role in freeing up donor funding for countries that need it more, said Trevor Mundel, the president of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health Programme. 

"It's essential that South Africa comes up with alternative solutions [to fund healthcare] and thereby potentially free up donor money … with the economic crisis in developed countries that puts a premium on maintaining overseas aid," he said. "Mechanisms like the NHI, which will take on more of the [financial] burden, will help to do that." 

'NHI will benefit the entire region'

An effective healthcare system will free up donor money for more desperate countries.

South Africa's National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme will play a crucial role in freeing up donor funding for countries that need it more, said Trevor Mundel, the president of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Global Health Programme. 

"It's essential that South Africa comes up with alternative solutions [to fund healthcare] and thereby potentially free up donor money … with the economic crisis in developed countries that puts a premium on maintaining overseas aid," he said. "Mechanisms like the NHI, which will take on more of the [financial] burden, will help to do that." 

Funding injection for healthcare

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said funding for primary healthcare has increased substantially over the last four years with more cash channelled into the treatment of TB.

Gordhan said yesterday, funding for primary healthcare would increase from R23.2bn to R28bn in the next two years.

He responded to a recommendations by the parliamentary portfolio committee on health.

The committee, chaired by ANC MP Bevan Boqwana, had proposed that the department of health should increase its focus on primary healthcare by pumping in more money.

This was going to help reduce hospital overcrowding.

In his reply Gordhan said he supported the committee’s suggestion.

South African health minister: Canada should join us to fight TB in mines

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As South Africa’s Minister for Health, it may be surprising that many of the meetings I will have during my visit to Canada this week are not with health officials or medical personnel, but with representatives from mining companies.

Drug-resistant TB patients have access to new drug

All patients diagnosed with drug-resistant tuberculosis will now have access to a promising new drug bedaquiline, which is still undergoing trials, via a clinical access programme driven by the national health department.

Dr Francesca Conradie, President of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society said although this access programme had already started in four pilot sites approved by the Medicines Control Council, it was now being rolled out in all nine provinces.

“We have trained nurses and doctors across the country to be able to administer bedaqualine to all multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB patients.