The World Health Organisation’s 2019 Global TB Report listed South Africa as one of eight countries accounting for two-thirds of the global TB burden. There is also a high burden of HIV associated TB and drug- resistant TB in the country. Although TB incidence is declining, the rate of decline is too slow to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and End TB targets. The First National TB Prevalence Survey1 shows that the prevalence of TB in the country is high at 737 per 100 000 and the estimated annual number of missing persons with TB is 154 348. The prevalence survey also shows low levels of care seeking: 67% of people with TB symptoms in the study had not sought care and less than half (42%) of symptomatic people diagnosed with TB had sought care. There are structural, legal, and social barriers that may prevent universal access to TB prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care and support.
Supported by the Global Fund, the National Department of Health (NDoH) is undertaking a rapid, nation-wide, qualitative research process to provide strategic information on the rights- and gender-related dynamics of TB disease and care. The research will build on local literature and the First National TB Prevalence Survey to fill key gaps related to knowledge about TB, care access and quality of care. This will provide evidence for the development of a social and behavioural change communication (SBCC) strategy that supports stigma reduction, rights, and gender-based care and treatment, and finding the people currently missed by the TB response.