USAID TB Program South Africa: Celebrating Five Years of Community Management of MDR-TB

The USAID TB Program South Africa and the Umzinyathi Health District Office of KwaZulu-Natal Province hosted a TB and multi-drug resistant (MDR)-TB award ceremony last week to recognize 64 MDR-TB patients who had successfully completed treatment. The event also acknowledged TB teams for seven years of good performance and celebrated five years of community management of MDR-TB. The celebration called attention to several achievements: more than 75% of MDR-TB patients had completed treatment, and over 96% of HIV-positive MDR-TB patients were on antiretrovirals.


MDR-TB is resistant to the two most powerful medicines normally used to treat TB - isoniazid and rifampin. XDR-TB is resistant to isoniazid, rifampin, and other TB drugs, leaving patients virtually untreatable.

During a 2006 outbreak of MDR-TB and extensively drug-resistant (XDR)-TB in Tugela Ferry, Umzinyathi district, only one provincial hospital was specialized in managing MDR/XDR patients, and it was 200 kilometers (about 124 miles) away. High case volume led to bed shortages and long waiting lists for second-line treatment (used when first-line treatment fails) and MDR case management.

Greytown M3 Hospital would become, in 2008, the first decentralized hospital offering second-line treatment for MDR-TB clients from Umzinyathi. Decentralization succeeded with the help of the NGO Philanjalo and the USAID TB Program South Africa. Philanjalo received a grant from the program to improve the quality of care for MDR-TB patients and build the capacity of MDR-TB sites to implement sustainable integrated community management of MDR-TB patients.

Philanjalo provided technical assistance and support to decentralized and satellite MDR-TB units in 16 districts, including Umzinyathi, in eight of South Africa’s nine provinces. The USAID TB Program provided technical assistance in conducting provincial capacity-building workshops on planning and budgeting for comprehensive, community-based MDR-TB management programs at the provincial, district, and/or sub-district level.

August 14, 2013
Regions/ Countries