TB Control Programme
The TB Control Programme aims to identify 80% of people who have TB and to cure them at the first attempt. The programme also tries to identify the infectious pool of people.
What is TB?
TB is a bacterial disease, and is a serious problem in South Africa, especially in the Western Cape. TB is highly infectious but curable. One out of ten people develop the disease. If not treated, the infectious person can affect 20 other people or more in a year.
TB spreads when infected people with pulmonary (lung) TB cough tiny droplets containing TB into the air, and others breathe them in. People who have TB of other parts of the body are not infectious. A persistent cough of two weeks or more is the main sign of TB, so the earlier the client goes to the clinic to get examined, the easier it is to cure. More severe signs are coughing up of blood, nightsweats, loss of weight and shortness of breath.
Symptoms of TB?
If the result is positive, the client will be counselled and advised on the benefits of being put on the TB control programme. If both sputum samples are positive, treatment is given immediately. An x-ray may also be taken, but the sputum tests confirm diagnosis. If the TB infection is severe, the client will be referred to a specialist TB clinic.
Treatment is in two phases:
The intensive phase is when four different drugs in tablet form are given for five days a week, for two to three months.
The second phase is the continuation phase, in which two drugs are given for five days a week, for four to five months. First-time TB clients must be treated for six months, while clients who have had TB before must take TB medicine for eight months. If there are side effects from the medication, the client must return to the clinic. Sputum tests are taken again after two months on treatment to check for progress, and at five or seven months to confirm whether the client is cured.
Children with TB are given different medicines and treated for four months only. To try and prevent TB, babies should be immunised with the BCG vaccine, which is available free of charge at all primary healthcare clinics. TB meningitis is a serious illness in children and can be fatal. If suspected (symptoms include neck stiffness) the child must be taken to the clinic immediately.
At community level, DOTS is undertaken by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) using volunteers as "treatment supporters". TB NGOs recruit, train and supervise members of communities to function as treatment supporters for TB clients. Supporters refer TB clients to the clinic when necessary. The Cape Technikon offers training for people who want to be TB supporters. Phone 021 460 3197 for further information.
TB Care Association, Santa Cape Town and Santa Western Cape are the three NGOs that deliver community-based treatment to TB patients in the province. The provincial government provides financial assistance and support to these NGOs.
TB and HIV
The Department of Health is in the process of adopting an integrated TB and HIV/AIDS strategy. Currently voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) is offered to TB clients with the aim of reducing early death and illness. Cotrimoxazole prophylaxis (drugs to treat pneumonia) is given for dually infected individuals.
These facility categories:
|Government Body:||(Western Cape Government)|
Free of charge.
- The South African Tuberculosis Control Programme Practical Guidelines (Guidelines, Manuals and Instructions) (File type: pdf; size: 422.5 KB)
- Mobilising against Tuberculosis: South African Plan for TB Control (Strategic Plan or Business Plan) (File type: pdf; size: 1.58 MB)
- The Management of Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis in South Africa (Guidelines, Manuals and Instructions) (File type: pdf; size: 856.94 KB)