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March 5, 2021 By rulleska 2 Comments

TB Awareness Month – An Opportunity to Strengthen our Support for Global Fight Against the Disease.

  • TB is still the deadliest disease and a global crisis
  • People suffering from TB have a weak immune system which makes them susceptible to contracting Covid-19, or where they cannot successfully fight Covid-19
  • Support and alignment with the National and Global fight to end TB by 2030 is critical.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tuberculosis (TB) is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide, ranking it above HIV/AIDS. In South Africa, TB is still the deadliest infectious disease that is responsible for the deaths of approximately 5,000 people per month in our country. That is mainly because, as a nation, we are still grappling with a high incidence of the HIV pandemic and diabetes, which are immune-deficient conditions that increase people’s susceptibility to lung disease.

The onset of Covid-19 in 2020 has further exacerbated the scourge of TB because people with lung disease tend to have a weaker immune system which increases their risk of getting infected with the virus. Even more concerning is that between March and June 2020, South Africa reported a 50% drop in the number of people diagnosed with TB in the context of COVID-19.  The reallocation of human, financial and other resources from TB to the acute illnesses during our lockdown period resulted in a devastating negative impact on essential TB services and attributed to this drop. This means that people had undiagnosed TB resulting in severe health results without treatment.

Moreover, with the global pandemic having such a devastating impact on our economy over the past year, we cannot afford not to fight the TB crisis because TB is estimated to reduce South Africa’s annual GDP by between 2 and 3%.

As an organisation that operates in the health and wellness sector and in the context of the pandemic, we need to play our part in creating awareness about the scourge of TB. Moreover, we need to increase our support for all initiatives that are aimed at the prevention and management of lung disease.

TB Awareness Month presents the opportunity to reaffirm our support and alignment with the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV, TB and STIs 2017 – 2022.  We want to play out part in ensuring that the overall goal of the NSP, which is to eliminate HIV, TB and STIs as public health threats by the year 2030, can be achievable.

By extension, this will allow us as a Nation to contribute to the global fight against this deadly disease that is outlined in the World Health Organisation’s (WHOs) Global Plan to End TB by 2035. It is only through the global collective efforts that we will reach the milestones outlined in the Plan to End TB 2035.  What a world that would be!

Let us continue to lend our voices to the fight against TB, and to encourage persons who are affected by the disease to take the necessary steps to get the help that they need for the treatment of TB. TB is preventable and curable, but it’s up to us as a society to play our part by practising good hygiene (washing hands, covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing). Covid-19 has given us an opportunity to fully practice this.  So it is really possible to end TB by 2035 or even earlier. It is the little things that we can do as a society, that will make a difference in the long run.

We must ensure that we do not contribute to stigmatising any persons affected by TB and or coronavirus because these are people fighting a disease that could affect any of us, and they are then less likely to get the treatment they need for fear of being discriminated against.

Lets be kind, considerate, caring and knowledgeable.  Let’s fight this together!



  1. Nonhlanhla Nonhlanhla masuku

    I am trying to apply for the masters bursary at hwesta, do i send my honours proposal?

    • Wendy Tembe
      Wendy Tembe
      24th May 2021 reply

      Dear Nonhlanhla

      Please note that should HWSETA advertise they state all the compliance information. At this stage there is no advert for Postgraduate.

      Trust you will find this note in order.

      Thank you

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