Tri-infection: Tuberculosis, HIV, COVID-19 and the already strained South African health system
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The 30th of May 2021 marks the latest significant national address, where President Cyril Ramaphosa moves the country back into level two lockdown with the hopes of curving the new COVID-19 surge while guarding an improving economy. The potential third wave comes two months after, the annual commemoration of Dr Koch’s March 24th, 1882, Tuberculosis (TB) discovery. March 2021 also marked a year since South Africa (SA) received its first COVID-19 case. An already strained SA public health system could not bear the weight of a third epidemic. This was apparent in a World Health Organization (WHO) report, indicating that SA’s access to TB and preventative treatment has plunged by more than 50% between March and June 2020 (World Health Or-ganization, 2020). Unfortunately, undoing all the work that healthcare programs had put-in to meet the ‘90-90-90’ targets stipulated in the Global plan to end TB. These outcomes are particularly concerning for a nation that continues to present with an unsatisfactory healthcare sys-tem. The SA healthcare system was already overburdened and under-staffed before COVID-19, serving over 80% of the population who are likely non-white and under privileged.