The National Department of Health (NDoH) has launched the Metropolitan Health TB app which aims to encourage all healthcare providers to increase screening, testing, diagnosis and treatment of TB.

The launch of the app coincided with the Tuberculosis African Summit, a two-day conference which took place in Durban on 16-17 July 2016.

Designed in collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare workers, the TB app provides guidelines and decision-support tools for all healthcare professionals; managers of the National Health Laboratory Services (NHLS); Programme Managers at District, Provincial and National level and community-based organisations working with people living with TB.

According to Metropolitan Health, TB remains one of the most important health challenges of our time with the latest WHO research reporting that at least 500,000 South Africans suffer from active TB.

“Currently TB management is dominant in the public health sector. The introduction of the app is to capacitate all healthcare providers with the appropriate skills and clinical decision making abilities to enhance TB care in South Africa,” said Executive Manager of the HIV YourLife Programme at Metropolitan Health, Siraaj Adams.

“These guidelines address clinical and programmatic aspects of TB treatment and prevention by making use of the continuum of care, from TB testing to linkage with care and treatment.”

“Informed clinical decision making in TB care is a vital part of the fight against this epidemic. The management of TB is a comprehensive subject covering many aspects from testing, to starting therapy, to monitoring patients and referring them to appropriate centres,” continued Adams.

Adams noted that because doctors often see many different patients in a day, they need quick access to complex information and diagnostic support tools and the TB app can assist in this process.

Currently the app will provide the NDoH with information on adverse drug reaction and medication stock-outs. Future enhancements of the app are expected to improve personalised care management.

Last year, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi launched an app similar to the TB app, the Metropolitan Health HIV Clinical Guidelines App, as part of a national campaign to scale up HIV treatment.

Metropolitan Health says the HIV app has been well received among the health professionals. The company won a silver award in the “Most Innovative App” category at the New Generation Social and Digital Media Awards in 2015 and is shortlisted in the BHF Titanium Awards 2016.

“TB related care has evolved significantly in the last decade given its association and interrelation with HIV. This TB app will redefine how we manage this disease and manage the linkages to care and referrals, all while capacitating healthcare workers to optimally manage patients toward best treatment outcomes,” concluded Adams.

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