R80 million funding to help address Tuberculosis over three years | Western Cape Government

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R80 million funding to help address Tuberculosis over three years

30 March 2021

The Western Cape Government, the City of Cape Town, and its partners are proud to announce that they have secured R80 million in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to drive the Tuberculosis (TB) response over the next three years. The funding is expected to bolster the province’s efforts to combat TB, which is a global threat and a public health concern on a scale similar to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The three-year programme will be utilised towards rapidly identify people with TB, link them to care and ensure that patients are effectively treated. This effort is based on using a combination of innovation and the wealth of data available through the Western Cape Health Data Centre to drive a patient centric approach to TB control in the Western Cape. The recently completed TB prevalence survey found that 390 000 South Africans had TB in 2018. About 40% of these individuals were either not diagnosed and or started on treatment.

The overall goal of the project is to strengthen the health system’s ability to respond to public health needs, including TB, HIV, other chronic diseases, and preventive services.

The following objectives have been prioritised:

  1. Addressing the technical, behavioural and organisational impediments to effective data utilisation;
  2. Entrenching data-driven continuous quality improvement methods to improving health outcomes;
  3. Implementing real-time data use to link and retain people with TB and people living with HIV in care; and
  4. Implementing data driven approaches to strengthen the implementation of new health policies

“The COVID pandemic has had a major impact on both the demand and supply-side of health service delivery, resulting in substantial declines in TB testing and identification of those with TB in the Western Cape. The health services response to COVID has demonstrated our ability to be a more agile and responsive service. We aim to learn from the opportunities presented by COVID to benefit our health services. Through working closely with partners, communities and the patients we serve, we believe there is no better time to implement such a project and ensure that TB continues to be a high priority for the Western Cape,” said Dr Keith Cloete, Head of Department, Western Cape Government Health.

The donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will provide a timely boost to our efforts to combat TB as well as HIV, diabetes and strengthen primary health care in general in the metropole and the greater Western Cape. Our testing rate for TB has declined in the last year because of COVID, so it is imperative that we get back on track. Partnerships such as these go a long way in amplifying the progress that has already been made in the public health service in the Metropole,” said Dr Paul Nkurunziza, Acting Director of City Health, City of Cape Town.