World TB Day

TB HIV Care lights up Table Mountain for World TB Day: Press Release

PRESS RELEASE: Table Mountain lit up red to mark World TB Day

23 March 2018

TB HIV Care, together with the National Department of Health and Table Mountain National Park, join Stop TB Partnership’s global initiative to “Light up the World for TB”.

This year, on World Tuberculosis (TB) Day (24 March), the Stop TB Partnership is continuing their campaign to “Light up the World for TB”. They have encouraged their partner organisations (like TB HIV Care) to work with authorities in their cities to light up landmarks across the world – in order to show their commitment towards ending TB.

Last year, Stop TB Partners and local authorities lit up landmarks in 31 cities in 13 countries. These included: Niagara Falls (Canada), Valladolid (Spain), Balochistan (Pakistan), Cuzco (Peru) and Christ the Redeemer (Brazil).

This year, TB HIV Care is adding Table Mountain to that list.

TB HIV Care was keen to join the campaign, to not only demonstrate our commitment to ending the spread of the disease (and our solidarity to the campaign) – but also to raise awareness of TB, address stigma and help keep certain issues (like the desperate need for child-friendly TB treatment) ‘top of mind’ and on the national agenda.

Putting the spotlight on child-friendly TB treatment

Several children hospitalised with TB at Brooklyn Chest Hospital have been invited to view the lighting of the mountain, both as a fun excursion, as well as to highlight the way TB affects children.

Children are not small adults. They have unique needs. The TB Alliance and the World Health Organisation recognised this by developing child-friendly TB treatment for children. On 2 December 2015 in Cape Town, it was announced at the World Lung Health Conference that the TB Alliance had been successful and had developed the first child-friendly TB treatment.

The new treatment ensures that children receive the correct dosage, the medication is dissolvable in water (making it easier to take) and it tastes good. Rolling out the new formulation would mean TB treatment for children would not only be simplified, but also greatly improved.

At the announcement in 2015, it was anticipated that roll-out would happen early in 2016. Unfortunately, for South African children, child-friendly TB treatment is still not yet a reality.

There have been various delays and roadblocks and more than two years have passed since child-friendly TB treatment was launched  – and it is still not available in South Africa. TB HIV Care hopes to bring this issue to light, and looks forward to seeing child-friendly treatment become a reality in South Africa.

The importance of TB awareness in South Africa

TB is the ninth leading cause of death globally and is the world’s leading infectious killer, with 10 million new TB cases and nearly 1.7 million deaths each year.

South Africa has one of the highest rates of TB in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there were 438 000 new cases of active TB in South Africa in 2016. Out of the 438 000 cases, WHO estimated that about 59% were also HIV positive.

TB is also the leading underlying cause of death in South Africa. TB is an opportunistic infection; this means that people with a weakened immune system are more vulnerable to TB. In South Africa, co-infection with both TB and HIV is a major issue. But people with diabetes, hepatitis, cancer and other conditions are also at increased of contracting TB.

But TB can be cured. The world’s biggest infectious killer is not only treatable, but curable too.

Table Mountain National Park agrees to light up our most recognisable landmark

Lighting up the mountain is not a simple endeavour. There are a number of considerations, including the impact that artificial light could have on the mountain’s many species of amphibians, birds, mammals, insects and plants.

Therefore the mountain will only be lit for two hours on the evening of the 24th – in order to protect the routines and activities of the mountain’s wildlife.

Date, time and photo opportunities

Date: Saturday, 24 March 2018

Time: 18h30 (sunset at 18H50)

Address: Lower Cable Station, Tafelberg Road, Cape Town (Viewing Deck)

Hopefully (weather allowing) there will be plenty of opportunity to takes photographs of our ‘red’ mountain.

Media contact:

For more information about the “Light up the World for TB initiative”, other World TB Day activities or our ongoing projects please contact:

TB HIV Care

Alison Best

Communication Manager

072 615 9192

(021) 425 0050

Alison@tbhivcare.org