Did you know that TB kills more people each year than any other infectious disease? Did you know that TB is preventable and curable? On March 24, we celebrated World TB Day 2021, recommitting to our efforts to control TB in the face of significant challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic over the last year.
The United States, through the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is working closely with our South African partners to prevent, treat, and control the TB epidemic. We are intensifying TB case finding and focusing on improving treatment oucomes. We support the South African Government to ensure that individuals with TB know their HIV status, effectively link HIV-infected TB patients to appropriate HIV treatment, and scale up TB preventative therapy among people living with HIV. We are expanding the availability of new drugs and investing in clinical drug trials on less-burdensome regimens for patients with multi-drug resistant and extensively-drug resistant TB. And we are funding research and innovation to improve prevention of TB in people living with HIV, increase our understanding of latent TB, and develop better drugs, diagnostics, and vaccines against TB. Plus, the U.S. remains the largest donor to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, which continues to do vital work to control TB in South Africa.
Chargé d’Affaires Todd Haskell joined Deputy President Mabuza, Minister of Health Mkhize, Mpumalanga Premier Mtsweni-Tsipane, and SANAC Co-chair Steve Letsike to commemorate World TB Day in Mpumalanga on March 24, 2021. The clock is ticking to end TB by 2030. Let’s all do our part.