South Africa News

WC government launches first-of-a-kind public facing TB dashboard

The Western Cape government has launched the first-of-a-kind public-facing Tuberculosis (TB) dashboard, which will only assist in monitoring the implementation of the province’s multi-sectoral TB response plan.

The announcement was made by Premier Alan Winde on Monday, where he pledged to use the lessons learnt from the province’s agile Covid-19 response in the fight against TB.

It also follows the premier’s commitment in the State of the Province Address to treat the TB epidemic with the same seriousness as the province has in fighting against Covid-19.

“The provision of up-to-date public data that enables behaviour change and monitors the success of government interventions is a key part of this.

“The TB response plan was formed and approved by the Provincial Council on Aids and TB (PCAT), which I chair, to address the serious impact that Covid-19 has had on TB-related testing, diagnosis and treatment in the province.

“The TB response plan, through the use of this interactive TB dashboard, aims to get our TB response back on track, promote transparency and digitise our response,” Winde said.

“TB has long been an epidemic in the Western Cape, and the dashboard will assist us in collating real-time data to respond effectively.”

The TB dashboard is modelled on the Covid-19 dashboard and includes data on TB cases, deaths, tests, test positivity and drug resistance from 2015 onwards.

These are aggregated and updated monthly to ensure that clinical and laboratory data are representative of the included period.

A number of headline (top centre) data elements are reported for a selected date range (automatically set to the previous year). These include:

  • TB Tests (GXP):
  • Percentage Positivity:
  • Number of TB cases in the Western Cape:
  • TB cases in the previous month:
  • Number of TB Deaths:

Additional components of the dashboard include:

  • Geographic breakdown of cases or positivity:
  • Temporal trends in cases, deaths, GXP tests and test positivity.
  • A separate set of graphs detail drug-resistant TB (DR-TB)
  • Finally, there is an option for users to conduct a

According to the dashboard, the status of the TB epidemic in the Western Cape is as follows:

The total number of TB cases diagnosed between 1 September 2020 and 31 August 2021 was 38 846, with 1578 (4.1%) of these being drug-resistant;
3041 cases were diagnosed in the last calendar month of the period, or August 2021;
The total number of confirmed deaths associated with TB in the previous year was 4078; and
In total, 186 097 GXP tests were conducted in the previous year, with 17% being positive and 4.2% of these showing drug resistance.

Winde encouraged residents to familiarise themselves with TB symptoms to play their part in stopping the spread and getting help from our health department as soon as possible.

“People who had close contact, possibly at home, work or school, with somebody who was diagnosed with TB disease, are at increased risk of becoming infected and ill themselves.

“TB is spread through the air like Covid-19. The TB disease has, unfortunately, been a source of unfair stigma and discrimination. Anybody can become ill with TB through no fault of their own,” Winde said.

“TB is completely curable, even the drug-resistant types, if it is diagnosed quickly enough and the person is adequately supported to complete his or her treatment.”

Winde commended Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, the Provincial Department of Health’s data scientists, as well as PCAT on the launch of the TB dashboard.

“We are extremely proud of their hard work, which will go a long way in helping us to save lives.”

-Cape Argus

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