The Umoya omuhle project held a successful expert workshop focussed on TB transmission in South African primary healthcare facilities from 6 – 7 August in Durban, South Africa.

Umoya omuhle, which means a ‘breath of fresh air’ in isiZulu, is a three-year collaborative project that aims to bring new ideas to improve infection prevention and control for drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) in primary health clinics in South Africa. It brings together researchers from Africa Health Research Institute (AHRI) and six other institutions across South Africa and the UK.

TB is a key health priority for the country. Preventing TB and drug-resistant TB transmission in health facilities is essential, but implementation of well-established guidelines to prevent TB transmission in clinics remains suboptimal.

The workshop gathered the perspectives of policymakers and practitioners in South Africa, using a method called ‘group model building’. The process explored the drivers of TB and drug-resistant TB transmission in health facilities to understand the challenges to policy implementation, and participants’ views on potential solutions.

Marie Theunissen, who attended the workshop in her capacity as a TB Survivor and an Adherence Monitor working at FAM-CRU Clinical Treatment Unit, Stellenbosch University, with the model she and her group created. Photo: Jennifer Falconer

The workshop outputs will inform development of novel interventions; researchers will explore the potential impact of these interventions in modelling work over the next year.

Long clinic waiting times are a potential driver of TB transmission. On Thursday 8 August, a workshop on ‘patient flow’ in primary healthcare facilities gathered stakeholders’ perspectives concerning methods to measure waiting times, and potential ways to reduce the time patients spend in primary health clinics.

Group model building in action. Photo: Jennifer Falconer

Top image: Policy makers and Umoya Omuhle researchers. Photo: Meghann Gregg