Stellenbosch University (SU) recently hosted the second International Post-TB Symposium where leading experts in the field of tuberculosis (TB) treatment and research converged to advance the issue of post-TB lung health.
“Emerging accumulating evidence suggests that after completion of treatment for TB, a significant proportion of individuals experience some sort of sequelae caused by TB. These people need to be supported and medically managed for their TB-associated morbidity after TB treatment completion,” says Prof Marieke van der Zalm from SU’s Desmond Tutu TB Centre (DTTC) and steering committee member of the Post-TB Symposium.
As more and more people complete TB treatment, the burden of post-TB sequelae is growing. “A recent modelling study estimated that 155 million TB survivors were alive in 2020, of which an estimated 6 to 10% were children under 15 years of age and the disability-adjusted life years increased by almost 50% if the post-TB life was included,” Van der Zalm explains.
More than 150 delegates from 31 countries and 99 institutions attended the symposium, including representatives from national TB programmes, the World Health Organisation (WHO), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP).
“The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Life after TB’, and the aim was to move from advocacy, which we established with the first symposium, to action, in this second one,” says Van der Zalm.
The four main objectives of the conference were:
- Advocacy – to increase global awareness of post-TB sequelae, and to empower TB-affected communities
- Knowledge – to update knowledge on post-TB life and illness, and identify research priorities
- Networking – to build research collaborations and set up concrete plans for research and advocacy
- Consensus – to highlight the need to embed lung health outcomes in clinical TB trials
The symposium included state-of-the-art presentations and interactive working group meetings chaired and guided by members of the international steering committee. The overall aim of the steering committee is to publish papers proceeding from the conference and other papers as decided by the various working groups.
Caption: Delegates at the International Post-TB Symposium