Latest News

Reflecting on Robben Island and healing through art in commemoration of Mandela Day

To commemorate Mandela Day 2022, 18 July, TB HIV Care, a non profit organisation working to prevent, find and treat TB and HIV and other major diseases, partnered with acclaimed visual artist, Lionel Davis to speak about mental health and art through an online Facebook Live event.


Lionel Davis grew up in District Six where he became politically sensitized through his experience of police violence. In 1964, he was arrested and sentenced to seven years in Robben Island for ‘conspiring to commit sabotage’. There he came into contact with former President, (and then fellow political prisoner) Nelson Mandela. On leaving Robben Island Lionel was put under house arrest for a further five years.


This extended deprivation of freedom was traumatic. Without the benefit of counselling or support for this trauma, Lionel began turning to art to cope with the mental strain. He worked as a community organiser for the Community Arts Project (CAP), at Rorke’s Drift and ultimately completed a BA in Fine Art at the University of Cape Town, exhibiting in New York, Gaborone and Johannesburg. In 2017, a retrospective exhibition was held at the South African National Gallery that showcased 40 years of Lionel’s artwork.


During his Facebook Live talk with TB HIV Care on 18th July, Lionel covered his own experiences of healing through art and gave some insights into how others could follow a similar path.


This topic is a relevant to TB HIV Care as mental health challenges can be both a predictor of greater vulnerability to infection with HIV, and an effect of a diagnosis of either HIV or TB.


“Mental health challenges are commonly encountered with any diagnosis, as people struggle to come to terms with their health status, and HIV and TB are no different” said Alison Best, Communications Manager for TB HIV Care.


“This talk with Lionel, who is such an inspirational figure, helps to destigmatise mental health challenges and provides a positive role model for how negative experiences can be reworked and transformed through creative expression.”

Watch the talk here

Prof Harry Hausler visits WHO headquarters to support civil society engagement

In the first week of June 2022, Prof Harry Hausler visited Geneva, Switzerland, in his role as a member of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Civil Society Task Force on TB (CSTF). This body exists to “mainstream the voices of TB civil society and survivors in the work of WHO, national TB programmes and multisectoral partners.”[1]

The first few days were spent observing the WHO’s Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Tuberculosis meeting, which aims to provide the latest scientific and technical guidance to WHO, including briefing the Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the WHO’s TB programme.

Thereafter, the CSTF met to review progress during the previous year and the upcoming year’s workplan. Of particular interest in the upcoming year will be:

  1. The civil society hearing in preparation for the next United Nations High Level Meeting on TB in 2023
  2. Development of WHO guidance for engagement of communities and civil society to end TB

The visit concluded with a meeting with Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on the 9th June and a virtual Global Townhall meeting to highlight the CSTF priorities and achievements to date and launch the latest progress report, and to engage with participants in an open dialogue on the future priorities for the Task Force.


International Nurses Day: Interview with Thuli Mavuso

Today is International Nurses Day, and this year’s theme is Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in Nursing and respect rights to secure global health. TB HIV Care values and respects nurses and the work that they do. For International Nurses Day, we’ve interviewed nurses within the organisation, focusing on their journey within the nursing field, lessons learnt throughout their career, and gained insight into their thoughts on the importance of investing in nursing!

1. Take as through your career from where you started to where you are now?

I did my community service at Orlando East Clinic, Psychiatric Department. This was amazing! I loved Psych. During my 2nd year, an opportunity opened up at Jeppe Clinic, where the RN who was doing Psych had left unexpectedly. So, I asked to be transferred there. That was great as well, I really enjoyed it.

I moved to Momentum, doing medical assessments for insurance. After 2 years I joined Jhpiego South Africa doing VMMCs. It started as one site, then lead to more around the Vaal region. I then trained as a trainer and travelled to other provinces, training, DoH clinicians. So, I got to run multiple sites and do trainings.

I was then hired here at TB HIV Care to run five sites in Mpumalanga and North West. So here I am.

2. If you look back on your career, is there anything you wish you had done differently?

No, I don’t feel I have any missed opportunities. Everything just aligns well.

3. What have you enjoyed most about this profession?

I have enjoyed meeting diverse people from the most brilliant, to everyday people, to those living with limitations who are determined to push beyond barriers.

I love when you see you’ve made an impact with someone you’ve met for an hour or less and they say thank you for the services you’ve given them. That always makes me happy and fulfilled.

4. What has been the most challenging part of your career to date?

It’s often difficult to manage people. Mostly because of work ethics, predisposed points of view and knowledge, the biggest factor – is emotions when dealing with challenges or issues.

5. What do you still want to achieve in your career?

I would still like to study further and travel, maybe work and travel to countries on the continent.

6. What advice would you give to aspiring nurses who want to reach a managerial position?

Don’t be complacent, there are vast careers and options in nursing. Not just bedside and chronic care.

7. Are there any qualities or skills that you learnt as a nurse that have served you well in a managerial position?

Working in a psych dept has taught me that a lot affects a person’s mental wellness and social issues are a big challenge when not properly addressed. It has made me appreciate the differences that shape and define our lives and how easily it can change by just deciding and working towards specific goals.

8. The theme for International Nurses Day (IND) 2022 is – Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Invest in nursing and respect rights to secure global health, focusing on the need to protect, support and invest in the nursing profession to strengthen health systems around the world. Applied in a South African context, are we investing enough in the nursing profession?

No, I feel most of all the trainings and other information given to nurses is patient/client-focused.

In South Africa especially, we are given a bad name and reputation that we’re unfriendly and apathetic. Yet there are few initiatives that empower and grow the nurse, in terms of people skills and handling stress and unfair work demands etc. Nurses still work 12-hour shifts, they are continuously working in an understaffed environment and they are still expected to give their best. A lot could be done such as looking at new ways to work which is evolving, efficient and empowering.