TB is still one of the top infectious killers in the world, with 1.4 million people having died from TB in 2019. Meanwhile, Drug-resistant TB remains a public health crisis which is estimated to affect 77,000 Africans each year. The African region accounts for 25% of the global TB burden, with more than 500,000 African lives lost to this disease every year. Of these deaths, 58 000 were in South Africa.
In South Africa HIV and TB remain colliding epidemics with 62% of TB deaths being among people living with HIV. In 2019 there were 360 000 new TB infections, 58% of them were in people living with HIV. On the other hand, TB was the cause of death for half of all HIV-related death (36 000 out of 72 000) in 2019. This underscores the importance of integrated TB and HIV interventions and services.
Presenting a message of support on behalf of the UN family in South Africa at this year’s National World TB Day (WTBD) commemoration, the WHO Representative in South Africa, Dr Owen Kaluwa, called on the government and other stakeholders to bridge the financial gap for the TB response and to accelerate efforts towards achieving the targets and commitments to End TB, for the benefit of the South African population and her future generations.