“Its Time”- USAID Southern Africa commemorates World TB Day 2019

Thursday, April 18, 2019
It's Time: Shorter term TB drug lauch in Port Elizabeth
USAID/Southern Africa

USAID Southern Africa represented the U.S. Government in national events in both South Africa and Namibia for World Tuberculosis (TB) Day 2019. John Groarke, USAID Southern Africa Mission Director, participated in the South African national event held in East London, South Africa on March 28th, and Randy Kolstad, USAID Namibia Country Representative participated in the Namibian national event held at Oshakati in the Oshana region on March 28, 2019.

TB is among the top ten causes of death worldwide and according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2017 statistics, 10 million people were infected with TB and 560,000 developed multi-drug resistant TB during the same year. Tuberculosis is one of the most devastating diseases in Namibia and South Africa and is the top killer in both countries. Many patients are also co-infected with both TB and HIV.

WTBD2019

Mission Director, John Groarke and USAID/Namibia’s Randy Kolstad highlighted the importance of working to end TB in partnership with Namibia and South Africa. In addition to the HIV/TB support through PEPFAR, USAID has increased efforts to help South Africa, Namibia and many other TB priority countries to contain and eradicate the disease by working with the governments and local organizations. USAID’s investment in TB has saved more than 54 million lives worldwide. Activities include raising awareness of the disease, finding missing TB cases, ensuring patients start and complete treatment, and finding a better and shorter course of treatment for multi-drug resistant TB (DR-TB) with less side effects.

WTB2019
WTB2019

In addition to participating in the South Africa’s national World TB Day commemoration, USAID Southern Africa Mission Director John Groarke attended the official launch of “BeatTB”- the USAID supported new drug trial for DR-TB on March 27th in Port Elizabeth.  Groarke stressed the importance of new trials to help end TB, “working with the Government of South Africa, USAID is committed to ensuring that results from the BEAT Tuberculosis clinical trial are used to inform policies and clinical management of individuals with drug resistant TB, thereby improving the quality of patient care. It’s time to end TB.”  The clinical trial is conducted by the Clinical HIV Research Unit of the Wits Health Consortium at Empilweni hospital with the objective of finding a shorter course of treatment for DR-TB.

WTB2019

At the South African national event on the following day in East London, Groarke emphasized the partnership between the U.S. Government and the South African Government, “The U.S. government will continue its support of the South African Government’s health priorities, whether in TB or HIV to reach those in the highest burden areas of the country, with the greatest needs. Your lives and the lives of your loved ones depend on it.”

WTB2019
WTBD2019

In Namibia, USAID Country representative Randy Kolstad joined hundreds of Namibians in a march to commemorate the day. USAID and CDC with PEPFAR funds have contributed significantly to the development of Namibia’s National TB guidelines as well as the National TB prevalence survey. The support from the two U.S. agencies has helped Namibia to achieve a TB treatment success rate of more than 85 percent over the past four years. In remarks at the Oshakati stadium Kolstad said “It’s time…” is an appropriate theme for World TB Day 2019.  And truly the time has come for us to diagnose and help every single person affected by this disease, including those in the most remote corners of Namibia.  The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has supported both international and national efforts in combating the spread and treatment of TB.

It’s time..We Beat TB!

Last updated: July 18, 2019

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