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TB HIV Care’s Annual Stakeholder Meeting

On Thursday, 09 November special guests, our Board of Directors, management team and ‘tenners’ (those hitting the 10-year service milestone at TB HIV Care during the last financial year) joined Prof. Harry Hausler at the Double Tree Hotel in Woodstock for TB HIV Care’s Annual Stakeholder Meeting (ASM).

It’s an important event on our annual calendar as it gives Prof. Harry Hausler (CEO), Lionel Janari (Chairperson) and Greg Wesson (Treasurer and Chair of the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee) a chance to present our programmes’ performance and financial standing (FY2022-2023) – as well as connect with our funders, partners and stakeholders.

This year’s ASM was held under the theme Mental Health in TB and HIV Programmes, and it was incredible to hear Babalwa Makhonco Mbali (Senior Social Worker), Sabelo Chumane (Social Worker) and Dr Clare Hoffman (Mental Health Specialist) speak about the realities on the ground, and how mental health services are layered and delivered through our programmes in the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

The keynote address was delivered by Jenn Drummond, HIV Prevention Branch Chief, CDC South Africa, who flew in specially for the event, and we can’t thank her enough for her reflections and insights on mental health, including the call to “holistically address all the individuals we serve.” Jenn Drummond saluted TB HIV Care for “leading the way” in addressing and incorporating mental health in TB and HIV programming, and it was a privilege to hear her speak.

As always, a highlight of the ASM was our ‘tenners video’, which celebrates team members with ten years under their belt at TB HIV Care! It was special, too, that many of the Cape Town ‘tenners’ could join us in person.

Laurene Booyens (Chief Programme Officer) flexed her MC skills (thank you Laurene!) and managed to keep everything on track (despite the odd technical hiccup) with warmth and humour. All in all, it was a great morning spent in the company of a great team, so thanks to all those who joined us in person or online!

 

Launch of Malangeni Hub of Hope in OR Tambo

South African Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, supported by THC PPPrev leadership, officially launched the Malangeni Hub of Hope on Thursday, 26 October in Lusikisiki in OR Tambo.

PPPrev Director Jenny Mcloughlin, OR Tambo Regional Manager Luzuko Tosh and PPPrev Technical Advisor Thobeka Mchunu represented TB HIV Care.

The event introduced the Hub of Hope to the Malangeni community as a safe space for adolescents and youth (both in and out of school) with services including behaviour change sessions, risk assessments, psychosocial support, biomedical services and intensified economic strengthening.

TB HIV Care has rolled out Hubs of Hope in 20 supported clusters to take services directly to communities as “ïsibhedlela kubantu”.

The DREAMS programme partners with the Departments of Health, Social Development and Education to tackle social ills in communities, and the implementation of community-based services is a response to the rising statistics of teenage pregnancy and the high rate of HIV infections among adolescents and young people.

Dr Dhlomo said, “We are here because there is a rise in teenage pregnancy. I am charging you to have a plan about your future, choose abstinence and finish school to achieve better outcomes for your life.”

The Hub of Hope links adolescents and youth to adolescent and youth-friendly services (AYFS) located at the Malangeni Clinic, which is one of the provincial primary health care clinics in the OR Tambo district. It is located at Ingquza Hill Municipality in Malangeni.

“We encourage young people to utilise the AYFS facilities. This shows that they are responsible for their future; therefore, when they go to the facility to access the services, they should not be chased away because this facility is for them”, added Dr Dhlomo.

In addition, the Malangeni Hub of Hope aims to provide access to industrial skills development courses and leadership to support local adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) in becoming economically empowered through securing employment or starting up small businesses.

“The Malangeni Hub of Hope is unique because of its location at the Chief Mjoji Palace. This shows the commitment of Malangeni’s traditional leadership to HIV prevention efforts and to change the lives of adolescents and youth in Malangeni.”, added Jenny Mcloughlin, Programme  Director: PPPrev/PrEP.

Milestone Moments: Inside the UN’s High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis

All eyes were on New York last week as the United Nations General Assembly hosted ‘High-level Week 2023’, which included a summit to review the implementation of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals as well as high-level meetings on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response (20 September), Universal Health Coverage (21 September), and the Fight against Tuberculosis (22 September).

The high-level meeting on TB (HLMTB) was particularly significant for the global TB community as it was only the second high-level meeting on TB in history (the first was back in September 2018) – and another chance to build momentum around the world’s TB response.

The meeting, which was held under the theme Advancing science, finance and innovation, and their benefits, to urgently end the global tuberculosis epidemic, in particular, by ensuring equitable access to prevention, testing, treatment and care, drew world leaders, politicians, policymakers, civil society and TB activists to the United Nations HQ.

The HLMTB saw member states approve and adopt a new Political Declaration – with some of the most ambitious targets to date. Put simply, if countries follow through on their commitments, it will put the world on track to end the TB epidemic by 2030 (as laid out in the Sustainable Development Goals).

In summary, the new Declaration sets out to:

  1. Provide life-saving treatment for up to 45 million people between 2023 and 2027, including up to 4.5 million children and up to 1.5 million people with drug-resistant tuberculosis.
  1. Provide up to 45 million people with preventive treatment, including 30 million household contacts of people with tuberculosis, children, and 15 million people living with HIV.
  1. Increase annual global TB funding levels to over four times the current level ($5.4 billion) towards reaching $22 billion annually by 2027, increasing to $35 billion by 2030.
  1. Mobilise $5 billion a year by 2027 for tuberculosis research and innovation towards the development of point-of-care diagnostics, vaccines for all forms of tuberculosis, and shorter, safer and more effective treatment regimens.

And while massive commitments were made at the HLMTB with regards to TB services, supportive systems, and research and development, side events taking place in the lead up to – and alongside – HLMTB 2023 – also saw critical agreements reached around funding and investment, advocacy, research, testing and treatment.

Much of the hard work happened at the side events, including:

  • Stop TB Partnership launched its Coalition of Leaders to End Tuberculosis, a high-level advocacy campaign under the leadership of Heads of State and Government – including President Cyril Ramaphosa and the presidents of Brazil, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Indonesia, Philippines and Tanzania.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) officially launched the TB Vaccine Accelerator Council to facilitate the development, licensing, and use of new TB vaccines.
  • Canada announced a CAD$25.5 million investment for Stop TB Partnership’s TB REACH.
  • USAID announced US$23 million in funding and new efforts to support the global TB response.
  • The United Kingdom announced £5 million of additional funding to the TB Alliance to support the development and testing of new or improved tuberculosis treatments, including for multi-drug resistant TB, that further reduce the time to cure TB.
  • USAID and the UK also committed to the reduction of prices of TB tests and medicines, including the price of GeneXpert cartridges to test for TB and drug-resistant TB (DRTB), rifapentine for TB preventive therapy and bedaquiline for DRTB treatment.

It was a potentially historic week in New York, and as WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “The political declaration represents a chance to write the final chapter in the story of TB.”