TB game-changers: We ask some thought leaders what they think should be next on the TB agenda.

Date: Fri, 16th Sept

Time: 20h00-21h00

How far are we from a more effective TB vaccine and how important is it? Will using geographical information systems to map TB hotspots and computer assisted digital chest X-rays to screen people for TB help find more people with TB? Are shorter drug regimens available and how can we ensure they get to people who need them? A number of innovations, issues and breaking research will be unveiled and discussed at the upcoming SA TB Conference. Join a number of TB thought leaders on Twitter as they discuss what they think is most likely to change the game and bring us closer to ending TB.

Questions:

  1. What is your first top idea, innovation or issue set to change the game in the TB field?
  2. What is your second TB game-changer?
  3. What is your third topic or issue that you think is critical to address or promote in order to end TB?
  4. Which of the ideas raised by others in the chat most resonates with you as a TB game-changer?

 

Rate your TB health service. Can community-led monitoring boost TB service delivery?

Date: Thurs, 15th Sept

Time: 20h00-21h00

Online reviews for businesses and products are a growing industry with some researchers suggesting that a big enough collection of those 5-star ratings can boost customer spend[1]. Can TB health services also benefit from similar user-level oversight and feedback?  Community-led monitoring enables end users of health services to provide data on the quality, accessibility and acceptability of those services. This gives patients the ability to hold health service providers accountable. It also gives health service providers invaluable feedback on where problems are developing, and, where communities are asked for solutions, can assist them to address them. Join our online tweetchat to explore how community-led monitoring can democratise accountability for health services.and improve access and quality.

Questions:

  1. How would you explain community-led monitoring of health services to someone who has not heard of it?
  2. Why do we need community-led monitoring? Why is health data from the health system not enough?
  3. Do you have any examples of how community-led monitoring has impacted on health services in general, or TB health services?
  4. What are some of the barriers we need to overcome in order to successfully implement community-led monitoring initiatives?

[1] https://www.invespcro.com/blog/the-importance-of-online-customer-reviews-infographic/#:~:text=Customers%20are%20likely%20to%20spend,business%20with%20%E2%80%9Cexcellent%E2%80%9D%20reviews.&text=On%20average%2C%20a%20one%2Dstar,a%20business%20about%2030%20customers.

World Hepatitis Day event ‘Storytelling for Advocacy’ gives voice to those impacted by a disease that kills 200,000 every year

To mark World Hepatitis Day, organisations from across South Africa are teaming up to raise awareness of viral hepatitis, which kills 200,000 people across Africa every year. A virtual event – Storytelling for Advocacy – will shine a spotlight on the people impacted by viral hepatitis, and demonstrate the power personal stories can have on advocacy efforts and policy change.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dying from viral hepatitis in Africa is becoming a bigger threat than dying from HIV/AIDS, malaria or tuberculosis. Chronic viral hepatitis affects over 70 million Africans (60 million with hepatitis B and 10 million with hepatitis C).

In South Africa, there are an estimated 3.4 million people with hepatitis B and 400,000 people with hepatitis C (HCV). An estimated 82,500 people inject drugs – the primary way that HCV is transmitted – with HCV prevalence in some cities over 90 per cent.

“Hepatitis B infection is preventable via vaccination,” explains Dr Andrew Scheibe, technical advisor at TB HIV Care in Cape Town. “And there are treatments available for hepatitis C that have a 95 per cent cure rate, although these Direct Acting Antivirals (DAAs) are unfortunately not yet available in South Africa.”

The event will be held virtually at 8.30am South African time Monday 25th July 2022 (three days before World Hepatitis Day). It will last for 90 minutes and aims to tackle one of the main drivers that stop people at risk of viral hepatitis accessing treatment and care.

“People most at risk of viral hepatitis tend to be from very marginalised communities and face high levels of stigma and discrimination,” explains Angela McBride, director of the South African Network of People Who Use Drugs (SANPUD). “The endemic will not end, until the stigma and discrimination which stops so many from seeking healthcare, ends too. We hope that by sharing the voices of those impacted, we can start to break down these barriers.”

Led by the International Network on Health and Hepatitis in Substance Users (INHSU) and held in collaboration with TB HIV Care, the virtual ‘Storytelling for Advocacy’ event will give people with lived experience of using drugs and/or living with viral hepatitis, the chance to share their stories.

Partners of the event include The South African Network of People Who Use Drugs (SANPUD), South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), the South African Central Drug Authority (CDA), the South African Department of Social Development, the South African Department of Health, South African National Aids Council (SANAC), alongside organisations from Kenya.

Other speakers include:

  • Award-winning South African storyteller Mathapelo Mofokeng, who will help organisations and individuals understand the power of storytelling, and how personal stories can influence advocacy efforts and facilitate policy change
  • Dr Kgomotso Vilakazi-Nhlapo, Viral Hepatitis Lead, National Department of Health, South Africa
  • Koketso Mokubane, Peer, South African Network of People Who Use Drugs, South Africa
  • Wamda Abuelhassan, Gastroenterologist, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Dr Andrew Scheibe, Technical Advisor at TB HIV Care
  • Plus, more to be announced from Kenya

“This event builds on a range of activities that INHSU has delivered with partners in South Africa since 2020,” explained Nikitah Habraken, acting executive director of INHSU. “These coordinated advocacy efforts are so important in raising awareness of the inequalities facing people who use drugs and ensuring that viral hepatitis elimination efforts stay on national agendas.”

The free-to-attend virtual event is open to physicians, nurses, community workers, policy makers, program managers, people with lived experience, advocates and anyone with an interest in the health and wellbeing of people who use drugs.

Register here: https://ashm.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcvde-oqz4oEtNXmpY-3UZi0kCrsCUjl0XO

More information:

  • For South Africa specific interviews please contact Phumlani Malinga, Communications Department at SANPUD dugganmalinga@gmail.com
  • For images, general enquiries, or interviews with the International Network on Health and Hepatitis in Substance Users please Brooke Nolan on: Nolan@inhsu.org

Sources: