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Bart Willems

In 2012, I swam four and a half laps of the Long Street pool in Cape Town entirely under water.

When I surfaced, I covered a distance of 114 m and have broken the South African freediving record. This win was made extra special by the fact that I recovered from TB five years earlier.
I was infected with the disease in 2007 when I was a medical student completing my community service. My experience brought home the risk public health professionals work under and inspired me to start TB Proof, an advocacy group, with fellow doctors, one of whom, Dr Dalene von Delft, survived multidrug-resistant TB. The group works to “proof” healthcare workers against the risk of infection at the workplace.

Having worked as a public health specialist at the Western Cape Health Department, I am passionate about simple and complex solutions for occupational safety in public health centres.
(Credit:The Young Independents)

Other Members

Andrea von Delft

As a physiotherapist, I knew about TB, but not enough. I was generally thinking, “it’s out there.” It wasn’t until my husband, a medical doctor, was diagnosed with TB, that I realise that anyone can get TB and that health workers are particular at risk of contracting TB.

Ingrid Schoeman

I developed drug-resistant TB while working as a dietitian in a public hospital in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. The TB treatment side effects caused liver failure and I was in a coma. TB changed my life and today I am a passionate TB advocate.

Zolelwa Sifumba

I contracted TB as a medical student while doing clinical rotations in hospitals in Cape Town. In October 2012, I was diagnosed with Multidrug Resistant Tuberculosis Lymphadenitis and had to take TB treatment for about 2 years. Being diagnosed with TB came as a huge shock for as I didn’t have any of the risk factors associated with TB, except that I was a healthcare worker, working in hospitals where infection control measures aren’t always implemented.

Phumeza Tisile

I am a 30-year-old (2020) and live in Cape Town. In 2010, I was diagnosed with tuberculosis and was forced to stop my studies at Cape Peninsula University of Technology to go for treatment. Despite this my condition did not improve, and after about five months of treatment, first for “normal” TB and then for multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), I was
finally diagnosed with extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB), the deadliest form of the disease