On November 22, 2014 , the USAID TB Program South Africa hosted a TB/Diabetes exhibition in Tsakane, Gauteng Province to promote awareness of the dual burden of these diseases. The event was held in partnership with the Bongi Zuma Diabetes Foundation, which was established by South Africa’s First Lady in 2010 to drive the empowerment of women and children, rural development, education and health primarily with regards to diabetes and associated diseases. The cause is very personal to Madam Bongi Ngema-Zuma, who lost her mother to diabetes after 28 years living with the illness. Currently, more than 1.5 million South Africans are living with diabetes, and 4 million are at risk of developing diabetes in their lifetime. People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing TB, and TB patients with diabetes experience worse TB treatment outcomes and have a higher risk of death than those without diabetes. As a show of support for joint efforts to fight TB and diabetes, both the First Lady and the local mayor of Tsakane were publicly screened for TB at the USAID TB Program South Africa exhibition stand.
The USAID TB Program South Africa is currently launching a pilot program to further explore and document the relationship between TB and diabetes in South Africa. The goal of this pilot is to provide national policymakers with guidance on how to address TB/diabetes co-morbidity.