TB Accountability Consortium

TB Accountability Consortium

TB activists gather and sign charter to make TB national priority

At the inaugural TB Accountability Consortium Convening, TB activists from across the country pledged their allegiance to TBAC and signed the charter below, calling for TB to become a national health emergency and get national priority. Read more about the convening here.

United call for TB to be a National Health Emergency in South Africa

The TB Accountability Consortium reignites calls for the government to flag the TB epidemic as a national public health emergency.

As South Africa’s biggest killer, with more than 50 000 people dying annually and an estimated 304 000 infected each year, TB remains a significant public health threat.

The South African Government has a constitutionally mandated  obligation to take action to save lives. Every South African has the right to health. And as a consortium of public health advocates, researchers, civil society groupings working in the TB space we argue that government is failing in this duty.

The calls to address this pressing health emergency were first made in  2021 by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC).  To date, however, no significant action has been taken.

South Africa public health community gathered this week for the first annual TBAC convening held this week from 25 – 26 October 2023, has been a pivotal moment bringing together civil society, researchers, community leaders, and government representatives, to highlight the challenges around TB in South Africa.

We now join together to urge the South African government to take immediate action and acknowledge TB as a national emergency.

The South African government  has acknowledged that the TB gains reached over the last two decades have faced some significant regressions since 2021 as a result of the COVID pandemic spreading across the world.

One of its interventions has been the National TB Recovery Plan -a five point approach which centres on finding people who have been lost to care and reducing the number of people who die  from this curable disease.

This intervention was developed as an additional measure to the government’s National  TB programme found in the National Strategic Programme on HIV, TB and STIs for 2023 to 2027.

But since the official adoption of the TB Recovery Plan as  well as the NSP on HIV, TB and STIs on World TB Day this year , there has been no progress with the ambitious targets set. Despite noble intentions and rigorous planning, there remains a critical need for implementation of the programme that will reduce TB’s hold on our communities.

As the TBAC, we have three key asks from the South African government, and particularly the Minister of Health:  

 1.⁠ ⁠Implement the TB Recovery Plan: In 2021 South Africa developed a TB Recovery Plan to help the country regain momentum in its fight against TB. But this plan is yet to be rolled out anywhere in the country.   

 2.⁠ ⁠Ensure sufficient funding: Government needs to secure the necessary funding to ensure that the TB Recovery Plan can be implemented, particularly in the 14 high burden TB districts.  

 3.⁠ ⁠Increase accountability: There needs to be improved accountability at all levels of the health system from faculty to district, provincial and national levels to ensure that the country is able to see increases in the number of people who are being treated for TB and decreases in the number of people who are dying.  

The urgency of the situation is undeniable, as TB continues to pose a significant threat to public health in South Africa. The call to action is clear: it is imperative to refocus efforts, allocate necessary resources, and implement the TB Recovery Plan with renewed determination to stem the tide of TB.

With our partners, we issue a unified call to the government, imploring them to declare TB a national state of emergency. We call on South Africans to join our call and help us get the government to understand the severity of this issue.

In the spirit of unity and with the resolute belief that change is possible, we call on our government and fellow citizens to work tirelessly to ensure that TB is recognised as a national health emergency.