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m2m and The Aurum Institute Join Forces to Tackle TB in South Africa

Tuberculosis (TB) remains a pressing health issue in South Africa which is among the top 30 countries globally affected by TB, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In 2022 alone, South Africa recorded approximately 280,000 new TB cases, with 152,000 cases among people living with HIV. Sadly, in the same year, 54,000 South Africans succumbed to the disease.

Our response

In response to this unacceptable loss of lives and livelihoods, mothers2mothers (m2m) has embarked on its first-ever TB-focused programme in South Africa. With generous support from and in collaboration with The Aurum Institute (an African organisation with over 21 years’ experience in leading the response to eradicate TB and HIV), we are joining forces for a five-year TB intervention, under the auspices of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s ACCELERATE 1 programme. This initiative will primarily operate in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal provinces, using m2m’s proven, peer-led model to tackle TB directly. The programme aims to prevent TB through education and awareness campaigns, identify people living with TB through community screening and testing,and ensure those living with TB get the treatment they need and deserve. With this integrated approach, we will reduce TB-related deaths and illness in the communities we serve, and we aim to reach over 30,000 people in the next six months alone.

m2m Community Peer Mentors preparing a cooler-box used to store and transport sputum samples from the community to the health facility for testing.

To achieve this, 100 health workers called Community Peer Mentors (CPMs) have been trained and deployed to Uthukela and Amajuba districts in KwaZulu-Natal province and Tshwane and Sedibeng districts in Gauteng province. These CPMs will initially work in 69 health facilities and surrounding communities, offering support and education to newly-identified clients. In a significant departure from most other community-based programmes, these CPMs have also been trained to collect and safely handle sputum samples during home visits, that will then be sent to the facility for testing. Once the test results are received, CPMs will ensure that clients receive their results timeously, and are started on treatment and provided with health education and support to improve their health and well-being. Clients will also be linked to preventative therapies as needed. The project aims to enrol 16,856 new clients living with TB and screen 15,170 of their contacts for TB by September 2024. In addition, by September 2024 a total of 33,565 clients are expected to be linked to TB preventative therapy.

How this aligns to m2m’s strategic plan

This expansion of m2m’s services to include TB intervention aligns with our 2022-2026 strategic plan, which commits to leveraging our proven peer model to deliver an expanded range of health services to address the evolving and increasingly complex health needs of our core clients—those living with HIV. According to UNAIDS, people living with HIV are up to 20 times more likely to fall ill with TB, and it remains the leading cause of death for people living with HIV, so tackling this challenge in an integrated way is mission-critical to m2m.

Community Peer Mentors gather under a gazebo in front of a community hall in Tshwane, preparing to educate their community about TB.

This collaboration with The Aurum Institute highlights m2m’s dedication to community-centred approaches in combatting TB and ensuring that marginalised communities have access to the quality health care and treatment they deserve. Stay tuned for updates as we embark on this transformative journey to strengthen communities and eradicate TB in South Africa.

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