During the month of June, the USG Consul General (represented by Anne Linnee, Elizabeth Orlando and Baphiwe Nxumalo, the liaison for PEPFAR in the province) and USAID South Africa (represented by Kevin Sturr, the Deputy Mission Director and Phyllis Pholoholo, a project management specialist in TB/HIV clinical care) were introduced to the USAID TB LON-SAFT team in Hlabisa, a subdistrict of uMkhanyakude. The introductory visit started at the Richard’s Bay THINK offices where an overview was given of the ongoing work of the USAID TB LON-SAFT Programme in the district and the USAID mission’s support of TB work in the country. After the briefing, the delegates proceeded to visit the KwaMsane clinic where the USAID TB LON-SAFT team has been providing technical assistance and direct service delivery.
The clinic is open 24 hours a day and services mainly community members that live in the nearby township of KwaMsane, including the mine workers and their families from Tendele coal mine. The facility’s TB burden is one of the highest in the district and their main challenges regarding the TB programme are the tracing and linkage of patients to care. During the visit a thorough walkabout was done under the guidance of the facility’s operational manager (Joshua Sifiso Mlambo) and the Department of Health’s TB district coordinators (Thabile Maphumulo and Bhekokwakhe Nkosi). They expressed their appreciation for the hands-on services provided by the USAID TB LON-SAFT team including integrated support for both COVID-19 and TB, implementing proper triaging and setting up an isolation room.