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!