TB Control Programme | Western Cape Government

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TB Control Programme


The 90-90-90 goals for the TB Control Programme are that 90% of all people who need tuberculosis treatment are diagnosed and receive appropriate therapy as required, that 90% of people in key and vulnerable populations are diagnosed and receive the appropriate therapy, and that we achieve treatment success for at least 90% of all people diagnosed with TB.

What is TB?

Tuberculosis (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 develops 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. The main signs of TB include coughing for more than 2 weeks (or cough of any duration in people living with HIV), night sweats, unexplained loss of weight and shortness of breath. Occasionally there may be more severe symptoms like coughing up blood and general weakness.

Symptoms of TB?

The symptoms of tuberculosis depend on where in the body the TB bacteria are growing. Tuberculosis bacteria often grow in the lungs, causing pulmonary tuberculosis.

  • Cough for longer than 2 weeks, which may be dry or productive
  • Weight Loss that's not intentional
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Fever
  • Night Sweats
  • Loss of appetite

Diagnosing TB

The client is examined at a primary healthcare clinic and asked to give 2 sputum samples. The clinic will send the samples to a laboratory, and the results will be available in 48 hours. 

If the result is positive, the client will be counselled and started on treatment immediately. An x-ray may also be taken. If the TB infection is severe, the client may be referred to a specialist TB hospital.

TB Treatment

TB can be cured if the full course of treatment is completed. The duration of treatment for drug-sensitive TB is 6 months, whereas the duration of treatment for drug-resistant TB ranges from 9-18 months. Drug-sensitive TB is much more common than drug-resistant TB.

Treatment is in two phases:

The intensive phase is when 4 different drugs in tablet form are given for 7 days a week, for 2 months.

The second phase is the continuation phase, in which 2 drugs are given for 7 days a week, for 4 months. If there are side effects from the medication, the client must return to the clinic. Sputum tests are taken again after 2 months on treatment to check for progress, and at 5 months to confirm whether the client is cured.

To try and prevent complicated TB, babies should be immunised with the BCG vaccine, which is available free of charge at birth. 


TB and HIV

The HIV epidemic has led to an enormous increase in the number of TB cases. People with HIV are far more susceptible to TB infection.

The Department of Health has adopted an integrated TB and HIV/AIDS strategy. Currently, HIV testing is offered to all TB clients to start ART early in those who are infected with HIV. Cotrimoxazole prophylaxis (drugs to prevent pneumonia) is given for dually infected individuals. TB prevention treatment is offered to all newly diagnosed HIV positive clients who don't have TB.

Useful Contacts

The following private organisation can also help:


If you've been in close contact with somebody who has TB, or if you think you may have symptoms of TB, you can visit your local primary healthcare clinic for screening and testing. You can also screen on the app.

Provided At: These facility categories:
Provided by:
Government Body: (Western Cape Government)

Free of charge.

147 17757
The content on this page was last updated on 24 March 2022