On Friday, December 19, the USAID TB Program South Africa and the Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) Department of Health jointly hosted a public event to mark 10 years of partnership and progress in the fight against TB in the province. The event, entitled “Reaping the rewards of our labour in the fight against TB” honored the crucial role of health care workers and community-based organizations have played in the TB response.
South Africa currently has the third highest TB burden in the world, and KZN province consistently reports the highest burdens of TB and MDR TB in the country. KZN attracted global attention when it experienced the first known outbreak of XDR TB in 2005. In response to this growing TB crisis, South Africa developed a National TB Crisis Plan in 2005. KZN developed a provincial-level crisis plan, focusing on the four districts with the highest TB burden - uThungulu, uMgungundlovu, uMzinyathi and eThekwini.
USAID has provided support to the TB response and implementation of these crisis plans in South Africa through the TASC II Project (2004 – 2009) and the current TB Program South Africa (2009 – 2014), both implemented by University Research Co, LLC (URC). Over the past 10 years, these projects have enhanced the implementation of the DOTS strategy, improved the quality, availability, and demand for TB, TB/HIV, and MDR TB services, and strengthened management support systems for TB program implementation.