Page last updated at 08:50 GMT, Monday, 22 December 2008

In pictures: Fighting TB in South Africa

A patient waits for treatment

It is estimated that nine million people contract standard tuberculosis every year. TB is a world public health crisis and in South Africa it has been declared a national emergency.

A nurse carries the TB drugs

The Church of Scotland Hospital in South Africa's eastern town of Tugela Ferry has introduced a home-based treatment programme where patients are given their treatment in the community.

A home based care patient

Nursing staff travel around the community and give injections. This reduces the patientsí transport costs and means they don't have to spend a long time in a hospital ward in the nearest city, Durban.


The nursing staff train the patient's family members in infection control. Using this system, the infection rate to family members is less than 2%.

An injection

Home-based treatment is also used for those suffering from Extreme Drug Resistant Tuberculosis or XDR-TB, which is on the rise in South Africa.

The nurses leave the community

HIV is the main reason there is so much TB in South Africa, where 19% of the population is HIV-positive. People with a suppressed immune system are easy prey for the infection.

Injecting a patient

But there is so much of the disease now that everyone is at risk of TB, whether they are HIV-positive or not.

An injection is prepared

Being seen at home means it is far more likely that patients will finish the course. If they don't, the treatment is often not effective. Photos by John Robinson

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