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AFCON marchers
Stop TB event
STOP TB event
KICK TB event
Health Care Workers being celebrated at KZN Open Day

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.

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.

On December 1, 2014, the USAID TB Program South Africa joined partners in South Africa and around the world in commemorating World AIDS Day. In order to promote the global World AIDS Day theme Getting to Zero: Zero new HIV infections, zero deaths from AIDS-related illness, zero discrimination, the project was active both at the national and provincial levels, raising awareness of HIV/AIDS and encouraging all people to get tested and practice healthy behaviors. In Free State, in partnership with the Thabo Mofutsanyana Distric Health, the TB Program awarded trophies to the highest performing facilities in TB and HIV treatment and care outcomes. These awards were designed to recognize outstanding achievement, promote healthy competition among facilities, and fuel future efforts in the challenging field of TB and HIV/AIDS. In Eastern Cape, the TB Program South Africa participated in the provincial DOH event held at Gompo Stadium.

Grantee Spotlight

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.

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