The Adherence Support Coalition to End TB (ASCENT) project is collaborating with City Health, and TB HIV Care funded by the Global Fund to implement Digital Adherence Technologies (DATs), to support tuberculosis (TB) patients to successfully complete their treatment in the Western Cape. 60 participants have been enrolled within the first 2 months of the project in Cape Town.
The ASCENT project, implemented by The Aurum Institute in South Africa, aims to help TB patients to successfully complete their course of treatment, using DATs linked to a central web-based platform (Everwell).
The Cape Town launch was held at the Phumlani Clinic in Mitchells Plain on 23 September 2021 and was attended by delegates from the City of Cape Town’s Health Department, The Aurum Institute, TB HIV Care, beneficiaries, and community members. Dr Zahid Badroodien, a Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health gave the keynote address, outlining the efforts the city has invested in the fight to end TB. He highlighted the potential of the EvriMED pill boxes to improve TB treatment outcomes and the ultimately eliminate the disease.
Two patients gave testimonials of how the pill box has improved their adherence and how they felt more supported by healthcare system. “Having this box is like having a healthcare worker in my house, I can never go wrong now”, said a patient from Weltevreden Clinic. The City Health’s TB Programme Manager Judy Taylor invested a lot of time and effort in getting the project off the ground which is appreciated by the ASCENT South Africa team.
ASCENT Programme Manager Nontobeko Ndlovu, Junior Project Manager Tanyaradzwa Dube and Monitoring and Evaluation Manager Jeff Weisser visited the 16 clinics who have begun implementing the project, to conduct quality monitoring and provide technical support.
Healthcare workers in the “mother city”, as Cape Town is known, embraced the pill boxes and incorporated monitoring patients on the Everwell platform into their daily routines. “TB nurses really appreciated the implementation guidance and support from The Aurum Institute, and the psychosocial support being provided by the social workers from TB HIV Care,” said Ndlovu.
The Unitaid funded and supported ASCENT project in South Africa is led by KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation together with The Aurum Institute and in partnership with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and PATH.