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THINK: Tackling Public Health Issues

Source: THINK: Tackling Public Health Issues - Africa Outlook MagazineTACKLING PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUESAccording to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tuberculosis (TB) remains the leading cause of death amongst people living with HIV across the world, with the two illnesses being intrinsically linked and in need of vital support.It is from this critical need that THINK was established by Dr Kristina Wallengren as a non-profit company in 2013, with the founding purpose of making a difference to individuals affected by TB and HIV.Today, the organisation has broadened its scope to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable communities locally and globally.With its [...]

THINK Accelerate Tuberculosis Elimination and Program Resilience Launch

In an ongoing effort to lessen and eliminate tuberculosis (TB) burden in South Africa, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has awarded THINK (TB and HIV Investigative Network) funding to roll out the Tuberculosis Elimination and Program Resilience Activity (Accelerate 2), which will run until 2028. ACCELERATE is the flagship USAID/SA TB project, and USAID is the project donor that provides essential funding and support for the execution and scaling of TB control initiatives.THINK Accelerate 2 Project is a cutting-edge initiative focused on accelerating tuberculosis elimination and enhancing the resilience of health programs in targeted provinces. The project aims to [...]

THINK South Africa CEO to partake in the United States: Mandela Washington Fellowship Programme – 2024

Mr Trevor Mvundura, Country CEO at THINK (Tuberculosis & HIV Investigative Network), clinched an illustrious opportunity when he was selected for The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders. This incredibly inspiring program is part of the U.S. Government's Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). The programme is designed to empower young leaders between their early 20s and mid-30s who have already demonstrated exceptional leadership potential within their communities, organisations, and countries. Since its inception in 2014, over 6,500 young leaders from every country in Sub-Saharan Africa have participated in this Fellowship. Trevor, also an accountant by profession, is at the helm [...]

Focus on Strategy, Culture and Values

  The recent THINK South Africa Roadshow got traction when Trevor Mvundura, our Country CEO, conducted a series of activities – kicking off at the Head Office in Hillcrest on March 1, and continuing throughout the country at the Mangaung office in Bloemfontein, the Fezile Dabi office in Sasolburg, the Centurion office between Pretoria and Midrand, the Vhembe office in Louis Trichardt, and finally the DOH office in Sekhukhune. In his opening remarks, Trevor welcomed all colleagues at THINK by reiterating that they are the most valuable resource for the longevity and sustainability of our organisation. He explained that this [...]

News from THINK South Africa’s Clinical Trial Unit

By Dr Munira Khan THINK South Africa's clinical trial unit in Hillcrest is excited to share updates on progress made for the TB ALLIANCE NC009 trial, as well as more info about the ChilPref Ext study The TB ALLIANCE NC009 trial is currently being conducted in five countries and aims to determine the safety of an investigational product in patients with bacteriologically confirmed drug-sensitive TB. One of the potential benefits of the trial is a shortened treatment period from 24 weeks to 15 weeks. The Hillcrest Clinical Trial Unit (HCTU) was approved to start screening for the study on December [...]

Tales of Growth, Impact and Commitment

Meet an inspiring THINKer who lives our values entirely and truthfully – both at work and at home Born and raised in Pietermaritzburg, love and kindness were the cornerstones of Noluthando Gwala’s upbringing, shaping the way she lives her life. Now, as a mother of two wonderful boys, she devotes much of her free time to exploring new recipes with them, watching movies, dancing to the latest TikTok trends, and reading – especially Bible stories. “My tenure at THINK has been truly remarkable, especially considering it's only been nine months. It already feels like I've been part of this family [...]

From Research to Results

By Michaela Higgins Sørensen In the world of non-profit organisations, allocating resources to communications is often left to the last slice of the budget cake. Understandably so, especially when funds are primarily directed towards specialised research, such as revolutionising tuberculosis treatment and changing WHO guidelines. However, at THINK, a research-driven NGO dedicated to healthcare advancement in Southern Africa, we recognise the evolving landscape and the need to elevate our communication efforts alongside our impact. Founded upon a commitment to research and innovation, THINK has significantly improved healthcare outcomes for over half a million individuals in South Africa. Yet, as we [...]

THINK Pioneers Harnessing AI in Healthcare

By Ziyuan Aria Zhou The Africa Health Conference, hosted by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, serves as a platform for discussing and disseminating the transformative initiatives shaping the healthcare landscape across the African continent. Under the theme ‘Mapping Changemakers Transforming Health in Africa’ this year, the conference explored a range of critical themes that capture the complexities of Africa’s healthcare challenges and triumphs. It aimed to highlight the ground-breaking innovations and effective policies that have significantly improved health outcomes in various African communities. The conference was infused with a diverse group of actors – including healthcare professionals, policymakers, [...]

A Journey to Better Health

By Allison Naidoo On February 26th, THINK South Africa collaborated with the National Bioproducts Institute (NBI) for an awareness drive during the NBI Wellness Walkabout, highlighting our shared mission for a healthier future. In the heart of Paradise Valley, the NBI stands as a beacon of hope for South African patients. For more than three decades, NBI has been a cornerstone in the production of essential plasma-derived products, marking a significant journey towards improved health. In the TEAMWORK Meeting Room, service providers shared healthcare insights as attendees moved with purpose, representing a commitment to better health. The event's slogan, "Take A [...]

THINK Commemorates World Tuberculosis (TB) Day

World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, observed annually on March 24, serves as a crucial platform to raise awareness about the global TB epidemic and its profound health, social, and economic impacts. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) data, South Africa ranks among the top five countries worldwide with the highest burden of TB, with over 500 cases per 100,000 population. THINK South Africa, is a local non-profit organisation dedicated to advancing health and well-being for vulnerable communities, proudly stands in solidarity with the world in commemorating World TB Day. The theme for this year is 'Yes! You and I Can End TB,' [...]

THINK at the Forefront of World TB Day Commemorations

THINK, a health impact and research organisation are at the forefront of World TB Day initiatives to improve the quality of life for people affected by TB in South Africa and around the world. THINK is part of the ongoing planning meetings led by the office of the Premier in KwaZulu-Natal. World TB Day is a global commemoration held on 24th March of each year and is aimed at building public awareness.  It provides an opportunity for every community to unite in the fight against TB and show support for people infected and affected by TB. Planning and implementation of the [...]

Welcome, young THINKers!

Let’s meet our new interns in Denmark, and our new students in South Africa! But first, we welcome Michaela – who after a 3-month internship is now onboard with us as THINK Denmark’s Communications Officer. Michaela Higgins Sørensen Communications Officer, Denmark Hi everyone! I'm Michaela, a 27-year-old Danish South African who grew up in Mozambique, but am currently based in Copenhagen. I completed my master’s degree in June 2021, at Aalborg University in Denmark, in Development and International Relations – with a specialisation in Global Gender Studies. For the past four years, I have been working in the gender, peace, [...]

SA has one of the highest TB burdens in the world. Now a researcher is eyeing AI as a new weapon

South Africa is among the top five countries with the highest burden of TB.  However, the government recently announced it would be slashing its budget for TB research grants. Now, a researcher plans to use AI to analyse TB data. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) may become a key weapon in fighting South Africa's tuberculosis scourge – which sees as many as 300 000 new infections and more than 50 000 deaths per year. World Health Organisation data places South Africa among the top five countries in the world with the highest burden of TB, with more than 500 cases [...]

Health NGO plans AI training hub in South Africa

Programme will target African health sector workers looking to improve efficiency and outcomes A South African NGO plans to set up a hub in Durban where people working in public health throughout Africa can come to learn how to use AI chatbots in their work. THNK, a non-profit company founded in 2013 to help people affected by TB and HIV, says it hopes to have the hub up and running by mid-2024. The training will build on methods to use ChatGPT to improve the efficiency and outcome of health programmes developed by THINK under a Gates Foundation funded seed project. Last [...]

The future of a Digital Discovery Hub at THINK

Get up, close and personal with our Senior IT Officer, Bekani Samuel Nsibanyoni! Find out why he places such high importance on IT proficiency, and learn more about his vision of creating an IT Training Development Centre. Q: What can you tell us about the Digital Discovery Hub? A: Today THINK relies heavily on computerised technology to efficiently complete various amounts of tasks. As part of our mission to create a workplace that is efficient and effective from a technology point of view, I would like to embark on a journey that allows us to ensure all THINKers have access to [...]

Success Stories from THINK’s uThukela district

SUCCESS STORY 1A 20-year-old male came to Ladysmith’s Steadville clinic on March 21 this year, presenting with loss of appetite, loss of energy, loss of weight, coughing and vomiting blood. Signs and symptoms of TB was noted. Sputum for GXP taken, and the result was positive with Rifampicin Resistance – on March 24. He was referred to Ladysmith Hospital for treatment, and subsequently to Estcourt for DR-TB initiation.Tracing by the Department of Health was done, and seven contacts identified – all tested on March 28, no under 5s included. The THINK team then got an invite from the DoH to come [...]

Go, THINK uMkhanyakude!

The team at our uMkhanyakude district office has received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Provincial Office for reaching the target TB success rate.A celebration at the Provincial TB Workshop recently took place, where uMkhanyakude was recognised for doing an excellent job in managing cases of both Drug-Sensitive (DS) and Drug-Resistant (DR) TB.For the last three years, uMkhanyakude has shown great dedication to taking care of TB patients. They achieved a success rate of 88% - 89% in treating DS TB, which shows that this fabulous THINK team provide high-quality care to people with TB. uMkhanyakude also managed to meet and maintain [...]

Empowering Communities and Advancing Healthcare

The uMgungundlovu district, a vital hub serving 10% of the provincial population, is a diverse district where challenges overpower opportunities – as the district addresses socio-economic issues like informal settlements and the existing vulnerable key population demographic. With seven municipalities under its umbrella – uMshwathi, Umgeni, Mpofana, Impendle, Msunduzi, UMkhambathini, and Richmond – the district strives to collate a collective response to healthcare needs. There are currently 28 facilities in the district receiving support from THINK's DSD and roving teams; 10 facilities receive direct support from our DSD staff, while 18 benefit from technical assistance via roving teams. Our commitment [...]

Greetings from THINK International

We're thrilled to bring you the latest happenings at our new home in Copenhagen! We're now sharing an open office space with our partners at Dalberg Media. A leading social impact advisory group that brings together strategy consulting, design thinking, big data analytics, research, and implementation to address complex social and environmental challenges, Dalberg is a dynamic organisation you should definitely get to know. In our lively co-working environment, we're surrounded by about 30 brilliant minds, mainly from Dalberg. But that's not all! We're also sharing the space with Nordic Safe Cities, an NGO committed to fostering inclusive and safe urban [...]

Trevor’s Take on THINK Culture

We all know and love the wonderful THINK culture – a vital part of every THINKers well-being and motivation to make a difference daily. Although most of us have individual takes on how we define this unique culture, at the end of the day it all boils down to aligning with our core values. Let’s hear what our inspiring leader, Trevor Mvundura, has to say in this fun Q&A session! Q: What defines the THINK culture? A: When asked about THINK's culture, I’d say it's anchored in our core values. Our team's passion for the work we do is palpable. [...]

What’s next for the Hillcrest Clinical Trial Unit?

The two new clinical trials that THINK is currently preparing for are within the fields of HIV prevention in high-risk groups, and individuals diagnosed with drug sensitive TB. The HIV prevention trial is sponsored by GILEAD Inc and offers pre-exposure prophylaxis to individuals at high risk of contracting HIV. The trial is being conducted in a number of countries around the world – including Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Thailand, United States, and South Africa. At the THINK Hillcrest Clinical Trial Unit (HCTU), men who have sex with men and transgender women will be screened for enrolment into the trial. This randomised [...]

Applying Artificial Intelligence in Public Health

Hot off the press! If you caught our recent announcement, you know that THINK has secured a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We're ecstatic to share that we were one of just 50 winners among a staggering 1 300 applications globally, all responding to the Grand Challenges on the Equitable use of AI. Leading the charge on this cutting-edge project, titled "Unlocking the Power of Data," are Suzanne Staples (PI), Abraham Mlasa (Data Analyst), Kristina Wallengren (Technical Lead), Fanele Msimango (Research Assistant), and Robyn Allie (Project Coordinator). Our stalwart TB LON team, featuring Riyadh, Lynette, Louisa, Zandile, and [...]

Celebrating a Decade of Impactful Healthcare: Reflections with Dr. Suzanne Staples

As we mark THINK's 10th year of impactful work, we celebrate the dedication and expertise of our team of over 500 researchers and healthcare professionals who have provided care for over 0.5 million individuals in KwaZulu-Natal. Through our pioneering clinical research, we have influenced treatment guidelines worldwide and elevated the quality of care in South Africa and beyond. In the spirit of reflection, Dr. Suzanne Staples, our esteemed Chief Strategy Officer, is sharing her invaluable insights and experiences while working at THINK. Q: Looking back on the past 10 years, what accomplishments of THINK are you most proud of? A: Given [...]

Exciting new partnership: THINK and SASUF collaboration

We are thrilled to announce our partnership with the South Africa-Sweden University Forum (SASUF). SASUF is a collaboration between Swedish and South African universities with the aim of increasing collaboration between the two countries. As part of this partnership, THINK will be hosting a satellite event titled Translating Research into Action on 27-28 March 2023 – during the SASUF Research and Innovation week. This event is a great opportunity for researchers who are interested in learning more about conducting research in a program context to learn how this increases the scope and impact on health and wellbeing. Researchers have the opportunity [...]

THINK is venturing into the Metaverse with the launch of our first NFT fundraising project

Feb. 07, 2023 – THINK, with the support of Virtuall, has launched their our very first limited edition NFT (non-fungible token) wearable and ventured into Metaverse where crypto fundraising and virtual engagement with donors is rapidly becoming the norm. The launch of the NFT will enable THINK to adapt to a fast-changing fundraising environment where it is essential to be able to accept crypto donations and engage with a new generation of philanthropists through the Metaverse. Dr Kristina Wallengren, Founder and Group CEO of THINK, points out that: “Since 2013, THINK has reached more than half a million people with [...]

Three THINKers to present their research at The Union 2022

The Union World Conference on Lung Health 2022 starts tomorrow when researchers, funders and stakeholders will gather virtually until the end of the week to share, discuss and strategize. The theme for this year is "Combating Pandemics: Today and Tomorrow" with the tagline of: "We must work together towards the elimination of all lung health pandemics and this can only be achieved if we address the issues of equity and inclusion for a healthier, safer world." This year, THINK's research will be presented by Dr Suzanne Staples, Dr Lynette Duckworth and Dr Abraham Malaza - each an expert in their areas [...]

In-depth: Use of urine test for TB increasing

Dr Lynette Duckworth, technical TB lead for THINK While tuberculosis (TB) is the top killer of people living with HIV, TB is also harder to diagnose in people living with HIV than in people who are not. What is more, TB is particularly difficult to diagnose in people living with HIV who have compromised immune systems. Imagine, for example, someone living with HIV is very sick and lying in hospital. It is not known whether or not the person has TB. They may not be coughing much and may be unable to cough up the sputum required for the [...]

When a Giver, Receives: Donation from Brits Nonwoven

We are thankful to Brits Nonwoven for the donation of D15 masks to THINK: 3442 x Large for Men - Elastic Band Masks, 2481 x Large-Toggle Masks, 8381 x Medium for kids/woman - Elastic Band Masks, 4990 x Medium-Toggle Masks. Thank you so much for your great generosity! Through the Brits Nonwoven donation, we will be able to provide masks for our staff and patients based at our various clinics around KwaZulu-Natal. Your support helps to further our mission which is to continue making a difference in the lives of those people living with TB and HIV whilst maintaining a healthy [...]

The Feasibility and Acceptability of Video Observed Therapy in the Practical Setting of a TB Clinical Trial

7th SA TB Conference 2022 Oral Presentation Track 3: Implementation/Health systems Authors: Siyabonga Myeni, Munira Khan, Suzanne Staples BackgroundVideo Observed Therapy (VOT) is an innovative digital treatment support technology that employs live or recorded video monitoring dosing via a smartphone, tablet or computer. Objectives Among VOT implementors and MDR-TB patients on a TB clinical trial in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: To measure acceptability and feasibility of VOT, To identify barriers and enablers Methods A complementary concurrent mixed-methods design was used: Quantitative survey captured participants’ demographic information, access to and ability to use technology and the usage of VOT. Qualitative component consisted of [...]

Tuberculosis case yield from LF-LAM: Experience from four districts in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

7th SA TB Conference 2022 Poster Presentation Track 3: Implementation/Health systems Authors: Lynette Duckworth; Jayandry Tasha Govender Background Identifying missing TB cases in HIV-positive clients is an ongoing challenge. As a simple point-of-care test, LF-LAM can be performed in 25 minutes using urine, a sample that is readily available. Positive results can be actioned immediately allowing rapid linkage to care and reduction in mortality for HIV/TB-coinfected patients. Challenges of TB-HIV Co-Infection: Atypical and non-specific presentation of TB disease, particularly if CD4 <200 Often test GeneXpert negative due to paucibacillary disease; lack of pulmonary symptoms or inability to produce sputum Extrapulmonary disease [...]

A qualitative exploration of the effects of psychological well-being and mental health on DR-TB treatment outcomes

7th SA TB Conference 2022 Poster Presentation Track 4: Social and community aspects of TB Authors: Nonhlanhla Ndondo; Dr Suzanne Staples Background Increasingly, researchers are recognizing the detrimental impact of mental ill-health on patients with chronic conditions and opportunistic infections. There is a link between poor mental well-being and treatment non-compliance among chronic illness and HIV patients. South Africa has a high burden of HIV and drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) comorbidity, but research on how psychological wellbeing impacts DR-TB treatment outcomes is limited. The present study aimed to analyse the effect that DR-TB patients' self-reported mental and psychological well-being has on [...]

A systematic approach to ascertain linkage to care for DR-TB patients in Eastern Cape

7th SA TB Conference 2022 Poster Presentation Track 3: Implementation/Health systems Authors: Marcel Kitenge1,2, Ruvimbo Chingonzoh3,4, Abraham L.Malaza1, Mcedisi J. Madlavu3, Riyadh Manesen1 1THINK TB & HIV Investigative Network, Hillcrest, KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa. 2Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Global Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa. 3Division of Public Health Surveillance and Response, National Institute for Communicable Disease, National Laboratory Services, Johannesburg, South Africa. 4HIV and AIDS, STIs and TB (HAST) Programme, Eastern Cape Department of Health, King Williams Town, South Africa. Background Linkage to care following Rifampicin Resistant Tuberculosis (RR-TB) diagnosis [...]

Wheelchair donation makes a difference in the life of a little boy

THINK through the support and donation from the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust, we were able to make an incredible difference into a young boy’s and entire families life with a donation of a much needed wheelchair. When one heard the mother of the boy say in a very emotional and soft voice; “Ngiyabonga kakhulu THINK, uNkulunkulu anibusise.” Which can be direct translated to, “Thank you so much THINK, may God bless you.” One couldn’t hold their tears back; it made you realise what it means to be a THINKer’ but more importantly what it means to be human; to love and [...]

THINK’s new Non-Executive Director

Meet THINK’s new Non-Executive Director, Debbie Gebhardt; an energetic, unbelievably creative and natural leader. Debbie is a veteran Marketing professional with over 25 years of experience, whose career is what every marketing practitioner dreams of; she is a living legend in the creative and marketing space.At THINK, we believe in making a difference in the world with passion and dedication. Our holistic understanding of TB and HIV is the way we know how, and Debbie brings with her a dynamic, innovative mindset with a natural curiosity about human behaviour & an innate attraction to those who are a force for good; making [...]

USAID TB LON Annual Program Report 2020


USAID TB LON Annual Program Report 2021


THINK’s Winner at the 7th SA TB Conference

Congratulations to Nonhlanhla (Noni) Madondo for winning in the Poster Presentations under Track 4 at the 7th SA TB Conference, for her incredible presentation on ‘Qualitative exploration of the effects of psychological well-being and mental health on DR-TB treatment outcomes in KwaZulu-Natal’. “The SA-TB conference was truly a transformational experience. The energy was electric and it was inspiring to be around people with similar interests who have done amazing work to curb the impact of TB. I particularly enjoyed the innovative implementation sessions on TB and Adolescents- it was right up my alley as a social scientist and got me thinking [...]

Pharmacist making a difference at THINK

6 Sep 2022 By Anita Jacobs, pharmacist at THINK I became a pharmacist as I was very interested in caring for human health. The ability to understand health at a much deeper level, translating it to my patients and then witnessing them healthier and recovered drives my passion. Pharmacy is a well-rounded career which involves not only patient care but can incorporate science, innovation, research, technology as well as business. I am grateful to have been able to experience all of these multi facets throughout my career and I am still learning! In all aspects however, there is nothing more [...]

UK intern learns about the research THINK does

“Interning at THINK was an amazing opportunity to immerse myself in a South African NGO and learn about the research. Everyone here is passionate about their work, whether it be medical research or finance, and truly are an inspiration. From an outside perspective, the people at THINK are ambitious, hard-working, and want to make a real difference in South African healthcare. Investigating the TB trials has been very interesting, from the scientific aspect to the ethics behind them.Mzo Elvis Zuma, a nurse at the clinic, drove me to a hospital in Durban and showed me the Durban beach. He told [...]

Programmatic Introduction of the BPaL Regimen: A Practical Implementation Guide

Download Guideline Published: November 2022 Authors: Staples S, Khan M. Howell, P; Juneja, S. Gupta, A In 2021, Dr Suzanne Staples and Dr Munira Khan co-authored a practical implementation guide for use in the programmatic introduction of the BPaL regimen, with key contributions from Dr Pauline Howell (WITS Health Consortium), Sandeep Juneja and Aastha Gupta (TB Alliance) amongst others. This regimen, consisting of Bedaquiline, Pretomanid and Linezolid, is becoming increasingly accessible on a global scale for the treatment of drug- resistant tuberculosis and the guide is intended to assist countries in planning for BPaL implementation. The guide is [...]

Launch of our Mobile X-ray Units

THINK with the support of @USAID and @kznhealth, launched a brand new fleet of Mobile X-ray vans during the World TB Day event in Howick, Mpophomeni in March. These vans are intended to complement TB screening initiatives among key populations in uThukela, Amajuba, uMgungundlovu and uMkhanyakude districts. Each van is staffed with a radiographer to take X-rays and an enrolled nurse to assess the results and the patient’s overall health. This enables us to diagnose TB patients quicker and to link them to care at the facility. Let’s invest in efforts to stop TB!

Positive signs for new TB testing strategy

Under a new tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis strategy, people considered to be at high risk of TB are offered molecular TB tests, even if they do not have any symptoms. A landmark study in 2020 showed that such a strategy can help diagnose more people more quickly. Now, early indications are that it also works in the real world and South Africa’s lab service says they can cope with the increased demand. The strategy called targeted universal testing (TUT for short), involves routinely offering TB tests to people living with HIV, household contacts of people with TB, and people who have had [...]

June is National Men’s Health Month!

This month is all about encouraging the men and boys in your life (including you, men out there!) to take care of their bodies by eating right, exercising, and working to prevent disease. The official symbol for the month is a blue ribbon and the purpose of Men’s Health Month is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases including TB, HIV/AIDS, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and depression. At THINK, we take Men’s Health Month very seriously, hence why we’ve started a series called #CheckYourselfBeforeYouWreckYourself and we will be sharing interviews and perspective [...]

THINK proudly contributed to the clinical trials of Bedaquiline, Pretomanid and Delamanid

By Dr Suzanne Staples, Chief Strategy Officer at THINK May 2022 marks such a proud and exciting moment in Drug-Resistant TB care, one that THINK has been closely involved with for many years and right from the start. My personal pride stems from the fact that THINK, and the clinical team has contributed so much to this historic moment through hard work and dedication together with our sponsors and collaborators. For decades patients did not have access to new treatments and had to endure toxic drugs and even long-term injectables. Then we entered an age of discovery with new drugs, [...]

Pragmatic Clinical Trial for a more Effective Concise and Less toxic MDR-TB treatment regimen(s) (TB-PRACTECAL)

Author: Dr Ronelle Moodliar THINK has proudly participated in the MSF sponsored TB-PRACTECAL clinical research trial since 2017, a phase II/III clinical trial sponsored by Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF), that tested a six-month regimen of bedaquiline, pretomanid, linezolid and moxifloxacin (BPaLM), amongst 2 others, against the locally accepted standard of care. At the time of the interim analysis 242 patients had been enrolled in seven trial sites across Belarus, South Africa and Uzbekistan. In March 2021, TB-PRACTECAL was terminated earlier than expected for efficacy, at which point, 552/640 patients were enrolled. MSF submitted a dataset of the interim results [...]

Promising early signs from mobile X-ray TB screening pilots

One of the most intriguing findings from South Africa’s first National Tuberculosis Prevalence Survey was that out of 234 people found to have TB, 58% had abnormal chest X-rays without experiencing any TB symptoms. Not surprisingly, the short report in which the findings were made public recommended the expanded use of X-ray technology for TB screening, something the World Health Organization (WHO) has also recently recommended.In South Africa the first step in TB diagnosis is to ask people whether they have TB symptoms such as persistent cough, weight loss, night sweats, and fever. In general, only people who report TB symptoms [...]

SAGE Success story: THINK works smarter to expand its impact

Published Article by SAGE Download Article THINK TB & HIV Investigative Network is a non-profit organisation that conducts world-renowned clinical research in vaccine development, diagnostic tools, and treatment guidelines for TB and HIV. It improves the quality of life of people affected by these diseases through training, capacity building, and engaging with local communities and stakeholders to support and improve health. Since its establishment in 2013, THINK has provided over 100,000 people with treatment, counselling, and care. Key outcomes: 30% less time spent on payments in the first month Ability to analyse and produce audit-ready financials [...]

Interactive booklet and pillboxes improve DR-TB treatment adherence

The treatment of Drug- Resistant TB (DR-TB) treatment has rapidly evolved over the last five years with the first new oral DR-TB drug, Bedaquiline, being introduced into the NDOH DR-TB programme in 2017. Following the successful introduction of Bedaquiline into a nine-month all-oral regimen, all treatments for DR-TB in South Africa were transitioned into injection (Kanamycin)- free regimens in 2018. Despite these advances, the treatment regimens for DR-TB remain complex, with patients requiring seven different drugs (up to 17 tablets daily) on the nine-month short regimen; and at least five different drugs (up to 12 tablets daily) on the 18-month long [...]

Outreach teams are trained to make a difference in their communities

Building the capacity of community outreach teams is one of the priorities of South Africa’s National TB Program (NTP) to improve contact tracing, screening and linkage to TB Preventative Therapy (TPT). Outreach teams consist of community healthcare workers who act as liaisons between communities and their nearest health care facility. At the beginning of 2021, the uMkhanyakude district Department of Health (DoH) requested training on COVID-19, TB and HIV for 20 of their newly employed outreach team members to increase the impact of these teams in their communities. Since health system strengthening and capacity building are prioritized activities of the USAID [...]

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