Join the fight against a major killer of South Africans

Tuberculosis (TB) continues to claim more lives annually than any other bacterial infectious agent. Globally, this disease has been fuelled by various factors among which are slow diagnostic modalities, the lack of active case finding and the emergence of multi- or extensive drug resistance. In southern Africa, the rampant HIV pandemic has been the major underlying contributor to the inability to contain TB in the region.

Today, South Africa represents the highest TB burden country, per capita, in the world; it is also home to the largest number of TB-HIV co-infections. These shocking statistics have mobilised both local and international research and development programs to search for new interventions and novel treatments for this dreaded disease.

Whilst a chemotherapeutic regimen for TB exists, the positive effects of widespread use of directly observed antibiotic treatment are hindered by the amazing ability of tubercle bacteria to evolve drug resistance. Moreover, the current BCG vaccine is able to confer effective protection against the onset of TB meningitis in children but has limited benefit in protecting adults against pulmonary TB. In this context, novel drugs and vaccines are urgently sought after to combat the disease. Moreover, a comprehensive understanding of the biology of the tubercle bacillus, during infection in people, is lacking.

The management of TB disease at district, province and national levels all require immediate attention. Many programs are poorly resourced and not integrated. Another obstacle to the eradication of TB is the fact that this disease occupies little space, if any, in the public consciousness. The advocacy and associated public engagement efforts fall significantly short of what is required to contain the spread of disease.

In considering all these matters, the TB epidemic now represents one of the biggest public health challenges in the world. It is against this backdrop that South Africa will host the 4th SA-TB Conference from 10 to 13 June at the International Conference Centre in Durban. In recognition of the urgency associated with the disease and the massive loss of human life, leading experts in various disciplines will gather to discuss important findings. Key stakeholders in the basic and applied sciences, drug development, clinical disciplines, diagnostic development, operational and health systems research will debate the topical issues associated with TB eradication through an abstract driven program involving oral and poster presenters, plenary talks, round table discussions, mini-symposia and skills building sessions.

The 2014 SA-TB Conference represents an unprecedented gathering of the brightest minds in the field with the ultimate hope of plotting a new course for containment and ultimate elimination of TB from our society.

View the programme and register now at