World TB Day

World TB Day: Launch of the National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs in Rustenburg

World TB Day on Friday, 24 March saw the launch of South Africa’s National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs (2023-2028) at a commemoration event at the Tlhabane Stadium in Rustenburg. TB HIV Care’s CEO, Prof. Harry Hausler, joined the event which was held under the banner of ‘Yes! You and I can End TB’ – a clarion call to encourage all South Africans to contribute to the national effort against TB.

The National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs will guide the national response to these epidemics for the next five years (across civil society, government, affected communities and other sectors) – and the event saw key stakeholders and decision makers gather to mark the occasion. Prof. Hausler met with South Africa’s Minister of Health Dr Joe Phaahla, where he advocated for the rapid adoption or local adaptation of World Health Organization guidelines. He also met with Dr Nkateko Mkhondo, SA WHO TB Advisor. WHO has agreed to fund a satellite session at SA AIDS Conference 2023 (20-23 June) to consult with delegates on the UNHLM on TB, UHC and pandemic preparedness.

Other dignitaries at the event included the Premier of the North West province, Mr Bushy Maape; SANAC Civil Society Chairperson Ms Steve Letsike; the Chairperson of the SANAC Private Sector Forum, Ms Mpumi Zikalala; and representatives from governmental partners, research entities, civil society movements and the private sector.

The launch of the new NSP on World TB Day signals a growing recognition of the need to prioritise the response to TB in South Africa, where the disease has been the leading cause of death for more than a decade. We look forward to fulfilling the promise of the NSP and ending TB!

St George’s Cathedral marks World TB Day with special service

On Sunday, 24 March, St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town was lit up in red to mark World TB Day 2019.

It was part of the Stop TB Partnership’s international campaign to shine a spotlight on tuberculosis: Light up the World in Red to End TB.

St George’s Cathedral was chosen as a symbol of this year’s campaign because South Africa has adopted the “It’s Time” theme, but adapted it to say:

It’s time…for religious leaders, parliamentarians and legislators to lead the fight to end TB in South Africa

This theme was chosen in recognition of the role of faith-based leaders as powerful influencers in South Africa. It is hoped that they can contribute in at least two ways:

  • By exemplifying the principles of acceptance and inclusion that underpin most faiths and welcoming and supporting those affected by TB, thereby combatting stigma associated with the disease; and
  • By contacting their local clinics to invite them to perform health screenings in their congregations.

Earlier in the day, South Africa’s Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, together with the National Assembly Speaker, Ms Baleka Mbete, joined the Anglican Archbishop, Thabo Makgoba and other faith-based leaders, parliamentarians, civil society and TB ambassadors at a special 09h30 service at St George’s Cathedral dedicated to those affected by TB in South Africa.

TB HIV Care was also honoured to be involvement in the national World TB Day commemoration, which took place in Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape on the 28th of March. Simphiwe Sandlana (TB HIV Care’s Stakeholder Manager) joined the provinicial steering committee in the lead up to the event.

The day started with an activation at the taxi rank at highway NU1, Mdantsane and this was followed by a political briefing. The political principals were divided into two groups and were joined by senior DOH Managers to visit either Wesbank Correctional Centre or a household of a TB survivor in Mdantsane.

At Wesbank Correctional Centre, they were provided with an overview of the innovative and creative ways TB is managed within the Correctional Centre. At the household of the TB survivor, the politicians witnessed first-hand how contact tracing and TB screening is conducted.

The World TB Day event was held at Orlando Sports Field, which is adjacent to Sisa Dukashe Stadium. By 07h45, throngs of people were lining up and ready to go through the turnstiles, development partners had pitched their gazebos for HTS services and TB HIV Care had erected tents for testing and screening. Development partners provided HTS services throughout the day.

The formal part of the programme was well attended with the main tent overflowing. The dignitaries who gave messages of support included Mr John Groarke (USAID Mission Director) and Dr Mbulawa Mugabe (UNAIDS Country Director). Both commended the country for its investment and focus on TB programmes and encouraged the attendees to realise that ‘It’s Time…to advocate for TB”. However, the highlight of the day was the keynote address by Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, the National Minister of Health.

The essence of Dr Motsoaledi’s speech was that all South Africans should take an interest in knowing their TB status by getting screened and tested for TB. In addition, he emphasised that in households where a member of the family is a confirmed TB patient (or presumptive for TB), all members of the household must be screened and tested for TB.

It was a great day, many thanks to Simphiwe Sandlana and the TB HIV Care teams who helped make it such a success!

World TB Day 2019: Theme

This week the Stop TB Partnership announced the theme for World TB Day 2019: It’s Time

A simple but powerful theme, it is also a call to action. Following on from the first-ever UN High Level Meeting on TB in September, the launch of the SA TB Caucus, and the 49th Union World Conference on Lung Health, which took place in The Hague in October, it is time to build on the momentum, harness political will and see the end TB in our lifetime.

As The Stop TB Partnership have announced, It’s Time…

  • …to keep the promises made at the UN HLM on TB
  • …for a world without TB
  • …to treat 40 million people affected by TB by 2022
  • …to know your TB status

World TB Day takes place on Sunday, 24 March 2019.