For information regarding COVID-19 visit the South African Department of Health or WHO websites at https://sacoronavirus.co.za or www.who.int/health-topics/coronavirus

TB Awareness Videos

TB Proof members participated in various TB awareness videos, highlighting that TB is a disease that concerns us all.

Health Talk Occupational TB survivors discussed the increased risk of health workers to contract TB on SABC’s Health Talk.

Helene-Mari van der Westhuizen discussed on Newzroom Afrika that the mask-wearing habit could be important to also prevent the transmission of TB.

To commemorate World TB Day 2019, Bart Willems and Thato Mosidi, both health workers and TB survivors, joined the Expresso show for an in-depth TB discussion.

For women’s month, Dalene von Delft was interviewed on the Expresso show where she discussed more about her difficult TB journey.

Medical practitioners in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape explained that the wide-spread failure of TB patients completing their treatment makes it increasingly difficult to control the spread of XDR-TB. Most patients also battle with the stigma attached to the disease.

Research Publications

TB Proof has contributed to scientific evidence as part of our TB advocacy tactics.

2021

Tuberculosis care does not end at treatment completion— a perspective from tuberculosis survivors

2020

COVID-19 and tuberculosis in South Africa

2019

The high-quality health system ‘revolution: Re-imagining TB IPC

2017

Measuring TB-related stigma

Agents of change: The role of healthcare workers in the prevention of nosocomial and occupational tuberculosis

The devil we know: is the use of injectable agents for the treatment of MDR-TB justified?

When students become patients: TB disease among medical undergraduates in Cape Town, South Africa

2016

Engaging health-care workers to reduce tuberculosis

A Patient’s Tale

TB Questions and Answers

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by a bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, that is spread through the air when a person with TB coughs, sneezes or talks. After a period on TB treatment, they are not infectious anymore. Without treatment a person with active TB, can infect up to ten people in the course of a year (WHO, online). Screening of TB symptoms, early diagnosis and care are all very important to prevent the spread of TB.
Symptoms of TB include:
As TB spreads via the air through tiny droplets and can affect anyone. If you breathe, you are at risk of getting TB. Key populations at risk for getting TB, including: people living with HIV (PLHIV), prisoners, displaced people, migrants, ethnic minorities/indigenous populations, miners, children, the urban poor, the elderly, people who inject drugs, rural populations, and healthcare workers (Stop TB Partnership, 2017).

Some people are at higher risk due to their immune status such as Diabetes and being on treatment that suppresses the immune system like Chemotherapy (Centers for Disease Prevention and Control).

Some people are at higher risk to develop TB disease due to the type of work that they are doing, such as miners or health care workers. However, in countries where TB is very common, all you need to be a risk of developing TB is to breathe.

TB remains the leading infectious disease killer in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO, 2020) reported that in 2019, 10 million people fell ill with TB and 1,4 million died. In South Africa, TB is the leading overall cause of mortality with a reported 58 000 deaths in 2019, despite it being a preventable and curable disease.

Latent TB
When a person with TB disease coughs, sneezes or talks, the TB bacteria are expelled in the air. The bacteria can stay in the air for a few hours, depending on the ventilation in the room. An uninfected person can inhale the TB bacteria and get infected with TB. This person may not present with TB symptoms as the bacteria can be dormant in the body. This is called latent TB (Aurum Institute, online). Yet, latent TB can progress to TB disease in one in ten people (WHO, online). Once someone is diagnosed with TB disease and starts TB treatment, the risk for transmission to others decreases dramatically.
Click here to view our TPT videos.

Pulmonary TB
The most common form of TB is pulmonary TB or TB of the lungs.

Extrapulmonary TB
TB can affect any part of the human body, from the brain to the toes. This type of TB is then called extrapulmonary TB (outside of the lungs).

Drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) is the name given to TB when the TB bacteria are resistant to at least two of the first line TB drugs, usually used to treat TB. If the TB bacteria is resistant to the TB drugs, Isoniazid and Rifampicin, it is called multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). Extensively drug resistant (XDR-TB) is defined as when the TB bacteria are not only resistant to Isoniazid and Rifampicin but also fluoroquinolones and at least one of the second-line injectable TB drugs (South Africa Department of Health, 2013: 1).

TB treatment includes oral medication which is usually taken for six months, but it can depend on the type of TB a person has. The treatment can be difficult to take due to the number of pills. Some of the treatment side effects can be frustrating but not dangerous (for example making your urine and tears orange) but others can indicate a more dangerous problem. An example is vomiting and pain over the right side of the abdomen can be a sign of liver problems (National Tuberculosis Management Guidelines, 2014).

Recently, two new drugs, Bedaquiline and Delamanid, have been introduced by the South African Department of Health for use in all patients with DR-TB to replace the injectable drug (South African Government, 2018).


For information aimed at health workers about potential side effects of drug-resistant TB medication please visit this link: MDR-TB Pocket Guide, 2018

Yes, TB is a curable disease as long as a person receives enough support to help them take their TB treatment.
Yes. If you have had TB disease once, you have a bigger risk than someone who has not had TB before to get TB disease again.
Sadly, health care workers have a three times increased risk to be infected with TB, compared to the general public (Baussano et al., 2011). More so, health care workers have a six fold increased risk of developing drug-resistant TB when compared to the general public (O’Donnell et al., 2010).
A person with TB disease should wear surgical masks to capture the TB bacteria when they cough, sneeze or talk.

Health care workers should wear N95 respirators when seeing TB patients create a tight seal around their face and help to filter the TB bacteria in the air.

Many clinics and hospitals provide support groups for TB patients. Support groups provide an essential platform where TB patients and TB survivors can freely share about their TB experiences. Goodman Makanda, a TB advocate and TB survivor from Khayelitsha said, “My support group helped to keep me alive, it was where I was able to talk to someone who understood what I was going through”.

Remember you are not alone. Contact the toll free helpline accessible from South Africa at 0800 012 322.
You can also join our TB Proof community. Click here to find out more on how to join TB Proof.

As TB spread via the air it can infect anyone, anywhere. We believe that ultimately, all of us should join the fight against TB and not only focus on their own protection, but on how we can care better for each other. This should include focusing on supporting people affected by TB and providing platforms where they can share their stories to raise awareness. Where you have influence, organize an awareness campaign about TB (you can screen one of the videos from our website) so that we support and not stigmatize those on treatment. If you are an employer, make sure you prioritize a safe workspace with good ventilation and ensure that your employees are able to visit healthcare services should they feel ill. TB is a problem that affects us all, and we must do more to tackle the leading infectious disease killer globally.