Cape Town XDR-TB patient leads international campaign

A Cape Town survivor of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis has taken her campaign for better access to testing and treatment from her hometown of Khayelitsha to Paris and beyond.

In August, 23-year-old Phumeza Tisile beat the odds and became one of only a few hundred South African who beat extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) each year. After an almost three-year battle with XDR-TB, Tisile has helped launch a campaign for better access to drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) testing and treatment.

New TB technology may be ready for clinics

New research has shown that rapid GeneXpert tuberculosis (TB) test improves access to TB diagnosis and treatment, and may be ready for South African clinics.

Conducted in part by the University of Cape Town (UCT), the study looked at whether it was possible for nurses – instead of laboratory technicians – to administer the test in clinics in four countries, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania.

The Desmond Tutu TB Centre on a quest to reduce childhood TB Deaths

South African researchers have thrown their weight behind the first ever global action plan specifically targeted for children with tuberculosis (TB), in the hope of bringing down the country’s extremely high childhood TB rate.

About 45,000 children in South Africa get TB every year, while many more go undiagnosed or are not reported, says Professor Anneke Hesseling, director of the Paediatric TB Research Programme at the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at Stellenbosch University.

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.