COVID-19 threatens tuberculosis (TB) programmes in South Africa

Preliminary data compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that globally 1,4 million fewer people received care for tuberculosis (TB) in 2020 than in 2019 in over 80 countries.  South Africa was one of the countries with the biggest relative gap; estimated at 41% second to Indonesia reported at 42%.

The onset of the COVID-19 epidemic disrupted essential services for people with TB as they were unable to access the care they needed and ‘WHO fears that over half a million more people may have died from TB in 2020 simply because they were unable to obtain a diagnosis’.

However, this is not a new problem.  Before COVID-19, WHO estimates that the gap between the number of people globally developing TB each year and the annual number of people reported as diagnosed with TB was 3 million. COVID-19 has exacerbated the situation and has put End TB progress at risk.

“For centuries, people with TB have been among the most marginalized and vulnerable. COVID-19 has intensified the disparities in living conditions and ability to access services both within and between countries,” says Dr. Tereza Kasaeva, Director of WHO’s Global TB Programme. “We must now make a renewed effort to work together to ensure that TB programmes are strong enough to deliver during any future emergency – and look for innovative ways to do this.”

CHIVA South Africa is heeding this message and is currently working on ways to strengthen the health system in underserved communities of South Africa delivering on-site and remote training and mentorship to health care workers.

Call to Action – Like many other extremely worthy causes we too have been hit hard by COVID, not just on the fundraising front but on the increased need for our assistance in supporting our most disadvantaged health workers.  As our ability to fundraise has decreased, the call on our expertise and assistance has increased enormously. CHIVA South Africa is in desperate need of your help, so we can continue with our valuable work with the health workers we support, ensuring children and adolescents in vulnerable communities have access to quality healthcare. Any amount donated will be greatly appreciated.     

Donate | Chiva South Africa | Mentoring. Partnering. Saving Lives.

 

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Source: World TB Day 2021 (who.int)

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