According to UNAIDS, South Africa ranks fifth on the list of 22 high-burden tuberculosis (TB) countries in the world, with 460,000 new cases identified in 2007 alone.
The partnership between SA Partners and Fort Grey TB Hospital in East London, South Africa is focused on service delivery improvements. Specifically, partnership support Ft.Grey as it strengthens its care and treatment systems. A necessity as it strives to improve the prognosis of patients admitted with multi-drug resistant (MDR) or extreme drug resistant (XDR) TB. Patients admitted to Fort Grey are quarantined and cannot leave the hospital until the infection is under control and responding to medication. Often, treatment for these patients is further constrained by an HIV/AIDS co-infection.
Presently, the partnership is piloting a Community Worker program in Mdantsane Township that is providing increased support to newly released MDR/XDR-TB patients. Two community workers conduct pre-release home visits to identify any challenges that need to be addressed, and then provide counseling for and identify additional support services needed by recently released patients and their family members. The first six months of the pilot program has demonstrated good results and additional funds are being sought to expand the program.