AFCON marchers
AFCON marchers
Stop TB event
STOP TB event
KICK TB event
TB Program SA Booth at UNIPATH Conference 2014

On September 18, 2014 the USAID Tuberculosis (TB) Program South Africa, in collaboration with the Department of Health and University of Pretoria, hosted a one-day seminar to address the diagnosis of TB in children, bringing together 80 experts at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria.

The theme of the event, “Childhood TB: The Elephant in the Room”, aptly captures the nature of pediatric TB – overlooked in the past but increasingly recognized as an important challenge for National TB Control Programs to address.

The first session focused on current gaps in diagnosis of TB in children, as well as progress made to date. Participants discussed the South African TB diagnostic algorithm, and the impact of Xpert MTB/RIF rapid testing technology (GeneXpert) on diagnosis of pediatric TB. Diagnosis of TB in children occurs most easily when health care workers ask the right questions; however, it was agreed that additional training and support of health care workers is needed to ensure they know the right questions to ask and what to do with that information.

The second session built off lessons learned during the National Diagnostics Summit held in November 2013, and addressed key issues of regulation and standardization, access and affordability, priorities for operational research, and development of public-private partnerships to further support the development of TB diagnostics.

June marked International Children’s Month – a time to both celebrate the rights and dreams of children all over the world as well as to address challenges that can prevent children from surviving and thriving.

In South Africa, tuberculosis (TB) in children remains one of these challenges and is among the top five causes of death in children under 15. In 2011, there were 47,571 confirmed cases of TB among children – approximately 15-20% of the total number of cases in South Africa. Experts agree that the reported number of childhood TB cases likely underestimates the actual burden of TB in children. Identifying and diagnosing TB and MDR TB in children remains difficult, as the disease may present non-specific symptoms among children. Furthermore, routine diagnostic tests for TB are not child friendly, as it is difficult to collect sputum specimens from infants and young children. Laboratory tests used to find TB in sputum are less likely to have a positive result in...

The USAID TB Program South Africa participated at the 4th annual national TB conference in Durban from June 10-13, 2014. The conference centered around the theme “working together to eradicate TB” feature three thematic tracks to address key issues hampering elimination of TB – detection and prevention of TB, TB treatment, and TB management. More than 1500 participants are expected to attend.

The USAID TB Program South Africa had a strong presence at the conference, highlighting its work in TB over the past five years and assisting the National Department of Health and other partners to map the way forward for TB eradication in the country.

Grantee Spotlight

Since 2009, TB Program South Africa has provided 85 grants to 67 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in all nine provinces in South Africa. The project is currently on its 4th wave of funding, and more grantees are being added all the time.

Many grantees have pioneered innovative models of service delivery and community outreach, such as injection teams for MDR-TB patients and door-to-door TB and HIV screening, which can serve as models for other organizations working to combat TB and TB/HIV throughout the country, particularly among vulnerable and hard-to-reach populations.

To learn more about the TB Program South Africa Small Grants Program, check out the grantee spotlight booklet here: http://tbsouthafrica.org/sites/tbsouthafrica.org/files/USAIDTBProgramSAGranteeSpotlight_Rv2.pdf.

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