The global death rate from tuberculosis (TB) remains alarmingly high, despite the fact that the disease is being cured.

This is the opinion of the Head of Tuberculosis Research and HIV Treatment at CAPRISA Center for AIDS Research in Durban. Kogi Naidoo was speaking at the SA TB Conference in Durban, looking at TB drug developments under development.

Naidoo says that despite continued progress in new TB treatment regimens, the level of toxicity from TB drugs remains alarming. “We know that in South Africa there will be around 61,000 TB deaths in 2021. This equates to two deaths every nine minutes from tuberculosis in South Africa. In everyday practice, we see that the death rate from tuberculosis is unacceptably high. There are several drugs and regimens that are being studied and researched, so there have been tremendous advances that will help us move forward.”

Meanwhile, Dr Muhammad Osman of the Desmond Tutu TB Center stressed the need for community-based advocacy, saying a purely digital approach to bridging the gap between those who get tested for TB and those who don’t will not work.

“The fact that we know that there is a large proportion, up to 25% lost between diagnosis and treatment, that we are not reporting needs to change, we need to involve the wider community. Opportunities for TB advocates are emerging in our communities and there must be room for them. Linking to care is more than just a digital solution.”

VIDEO | South African Tuberculosis Conference | Technologies used for TB screening in rural areas:

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