It is with great pleasure that I invite you to attend the South African TB Conference 2010. As a result of the growing prevalence of HIV, South Africa and the southern African region are facing one of the worst TB epidemics on the planet. In its latest Global TB Report 2009, the World Health Organization estimated that South Africa has the fifth highest number of TB cases and the second highest TB incidence of any country in the world.
At its 20th Board meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last week, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) affirmed its commitment to joint collaboration with global health partnerships on health systems strengthening. In addition to strong working relationships with public-private partnerships such as Stop TB, Roll Back Malaria and UNITAID, the Global Fund works closely with other global actors including GAVI, WHO, the World Bank, UNAIDS and, increasingly, with newer health system-focused partnerships such as the International Health Partnership (IHP+), the Global Health Workforce Alliance (GHWA), as well as HMN.
Health Systems Trust (HST) has just released its latest publication entitled, An assessment of current support strategies for patients with TB in KwaZulu-Natal. The study probed the level of need for material assistance experienced by patients, and the impact of such assistance's provision.
Poverty has long been recognized as one of the factors predisposing people to TB (Lancet 2005) and, in South Africa, many patients with TB live in poor conditions. In order to ameliorate these conditions, a few initiatives to support patients with TB have been made in KwaZulu-Natal. To date, support for TB patients has been provided in the form of free treatment at government hospitals and clinics (Department of Health 2001), and nutritional supplementation and social grants (Department of Social Development 2006)1.
This report presents the methods and findings of a qualitative study of the experiences of patients taking medication for HIV infection as part of an antiretroviral therapy (ART) programme in five sites in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. The study, known as the ADHERE Project, was designed by MEASURE Evaluation and implemented in collaboration with Health Systems Trust to provide information to the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health for use in expanding and improving their ART services.