Free of TB is and NPO aimed at raising funds to fight diseases of poverty in South Africa.
We would appreciate any donations.
Our tax-exempt PBO registration number is 930049193, which means your donations are tax deductible.
We will provide a tax receipt for donations.


Tuberculosis (TB) is a major global health problem and the biggest historical killer of mankind. It has caused almost a billion deaths in the last 2 centuries and killed more people historically that all the wars (ever fought) combined. It is far from eradicated, causes ill-health amongst millions of people each year, and is now the leading infectious cause of death worldwide. In 2017, there were an estimated 10 million TB cases globally: 5.8 million among men, 3.2 million among women, and 1.0 million among children. There were also 1.6 million TB deaths (1.3 million among HIV-uninfected people and 0.3 million among HIV-infected people). The number of TB deaths is unacceptably high given that the disease is curable. TB together with HIV and pneumonia features on the WHO top 10 killer diseases list.

TB facts about South Africa:
  • The 2017 incidence of TB in SA was 850 cases per 100 000 people (the highest in the world).
  • TB-mortality: 5%
  • HIV-infected TB mortality: 16%
  • TB was the commonest cause of death in 2018 in South Africa.
  • Approximately 450 000 people are treated for TB in South Africa annually (± 150 000 to 200 000 of these cases remain undiagnosed).


Drug resistant TB threatens to further destabilise the already poor control of TB worldwide. In 2017, there was an estimated 558 000 (range 483 000-639 000) new cases of MDR-TB worldwide, and approximately 200 000 deaths from MDR-TB. Drug resistant TB consumes almost half of the entire South African TB budget.

Although 2 new TB drugs are now available up to a third of patients still have a poor outcome. Thus, many cases of drug resistant TB are near incurable.

Some research that was co-supported or facilitated by Free of TB

Global control of tuberculosis: from extensively drug-resistant to untreatable tuberculosis.

Dheda K, Gumbo T, Gandhi NR, Murray M, Theron G, Udwadia Z, Migliori GB, Warren R.
Lancet Respir Med. 2014 Apr;2(4):321-38. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(14)70031-1. Epub 2014 Mar 24. Review

Outcomes, infectiousness, and transmission dynamics of patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis and home-discharged patients with programmatically incurable tuberculosis: a prospective cohort study.

Dheda K, Limberis JD, Pietersen E, Phelan J, Esmail A, Lesosky M, Fennelly KP, Te Riele J, Mastrapa B, Streicher EM, Dolby T, Abdallah AM, Ben-Rached F, Simpson J, Smith L, Gumbo T, van Helden P, Sirgel FA, McNerney R, Theron G, Pain A, Clark TG, Warren RM.
Lancet Respir Med. 2017 Jan 18. pii: S2213-2600(16)30433-7. doi: 10.1016/S2213-2600(16)30433-7. [Epub ahead of print]

Long-term outcomes of patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis in South Africa: a cohort study.

Pietersen E, Ignatius E, Streicher EM, Mastrapa B, Padanilam X, Pooran A, Badri M, Lesosky M, van Helden P, Sirgel FA, Warren R, Dheda K.
Lancet. 2014 Apr 5;383(9924):1230-9. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62675-6. Epub 2014 Jan 17.

Feasibility, accuracy, and clinical effect of point-of-care Xpert MTB/RIF testing for tuberculosis in primary-care settings in Africa: a multicentre, randomised, controlled trial.

Theron G, Zijenah L, Chanda D, Clowes P, Rachow A, Lesosky M, Bara W, Mungofa S, Pai M, Hoelscher M, Dowdy D, Pym A, Mwaba P, Mason P, Peter J, Dheda K; TB-NEAT team..
Lancet. 2014 Feb 1;383(9915):424-35. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62073-5. Epub 2013 Oct 28.

Effect on mortality of point-of-care, urine-based lipoarabinomannan testing to guide tuberculosis treatment initiation in HIV-positive hospital inpatients: a pragmatic, parallel-group, multicountry, open-label, randomised controlled trial.

Peter JG, Zijenah LS, Chanda D, Clowes P, Lesosky M, Gina P, Mehta N, Calligaro G, Lombard CJ, Kadzirange G, Bandason T, Chansa A, Liusha N, Mangu C, Mtafya B, Msila H, Rachow A, Hoelscher M, Mwaba P, Theron G, Dheda K.
Lancet. 2016 Mar 19;387(10024):1187-97. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)01092-2. Epub 2016 Mar 10

The global rise of extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis: is the time to bring back sanatoria now overdue?

Dheda K, Migliori GB.
Lancet. 2012 Feb 25;379(9817):773-5. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(11)61062-3. Epub 2011 Oct 25. No abstract available


Dheda K, Barry CE 3rd, Maartens G.
Lancet. 2016 Mar 19;387(10024):1211-26. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)00151-8. Epub 2015 Sep 13. Review. Erratum in: Lancet. 2016 Mar 19;387(10024):1162. Lancet. 2016 May 21;387(10033):2092. Lancet. 2016 Mar 19;387(10024):1162.

Multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis: a threat to global control of tuberculosis.

Gandhi NR, Nunn P, Dheda K, Schaaf HS, Zignol M, van Soolingen D, Jensen P, Bayona J.
Lancet. 2010 May 22;375(9728):1830-43. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)60410-2.

Long-tern bedaquiline-related treatment outcomes in patients with extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis from South Africa

Olayanju O, Limberis J, Esmail A, Oelofse S, Gina P, Pietersen E, Fadul M, Warren R, Dheda K.
European Respiratory Journal; 2018 51: 1800544, DOI: 10.1183/13993003.00544-2018

Drug-Penetration Gradients Associated with Acquired Drug Resistance in Patients with Tuberculosis

Keertan Dheda, Laura Lenders, Gesham Magombedze, Shashikant Srivastava, Prithvi Raj, Erland Arning, Paula Ashcraft, Teodoro Bottiglieri, Helen Wainwright, Timothy Pennel, Anthony Linegar, Loven Moodley, Anil Pooran, Jotam G. Pasipanodya, Frederick A. Sirgel, Paul D. van Helden, Edward Wakeland, Robin M. Warren, and Tawanda Gumbo
American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Vol. 198, No. 9 / Nov 01 2018

Early morning urine collection to improve urinary lateral flow LAM assay sensitivity in hospitalised patients with HIV-TB coinfection

Phindile Gina, Philippa J. Randall, Tapuwa E. Muchinga, Anil Pooran, Richard Meldau, Jonny G. Peter and Keertan Dheda
BMC Infectious Diseases 2017


WHO pneumonia fact sheet.
South Africa HIV Profile.
TB Incidence in 2020.
WHO TB Factsheet.
WHO TB Report 2022.

The Team

Prof Keertan Dheda

Co-director & Founder

Keertan Dheda is Professor of Respiratory Medicine, and Head of the Division of Pulmonology at the University of Cape Town. His research work focuses on the epidemiology, diagnosis, transmission, and treatment of TB. He is a National Research Foundation A-rated scientist (H index = 63 as at December 2018) and has published over 250 peer-reviewed papers including 4 first or senior author original publications in The Lancet. He has been the recipient of several prestigious awards including the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease Scientific Award and the Oppenheimer Award. He serves on the editorial board of several journals including the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Medicine, and Lancet Respiratory Diseases amongst others. He holds 5 patents related to new TB control technologies. He serves on several national and international academic and advisory bodies and is the current president of the South African Thoracic Society.

See WIKIPAGE (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keertan_Dheda) and UCT Lung Institute Research Unit site (https://lunginstitute.co.za/) for further details.

Dr Julian Te Riele


Dr Te Riele (Family Physician at Brooklyn Chest Hospital and Clinical Manager, Metro TB Hospital Complex, University of Cape Town) has extensive experience in managing complex TB cases. His research work highlighted the relationship between radiological disease extent and outcomes in drug resistant TB. He serves on several advisory committees including the South African DR-TB Guideline committee.

Dr Suzette Oelofse


Dr Suzette Oelofse is a research medical officer and deputy head of the Clinical Trials Unit at the Centre for Lung Infection and Immunity (UCT Lung Institute). She obtained her MBChB (Cum Laude) from the University of Pretoria and has been with the Lung Institute under the mentorship of Prof Keertan Dheda and Dr Ali Esmail since 2016. She has a passion for research and has embarked on a PhD in the field of drug resistant TB. Her goal is to conduct research that will have a meaningful impact on global guidelines and the lives of patients in South Africa and around the world.

Khilona Radia


When Khilona is not busy in the entrepreneurial and healthcare innovation space across Africa, she shares her time contributing to Free of TB. She has a keen interest in improving the time taken to treat TB patients and is determined to find ways to short circuit systems and tools to address this treatable disease. Through Khilona’s leadership, her SME was the recipient of the prestigious NSTF Award that nationally recognises research leading to innovation. Here is an example of a company that is successfully transforming local scientific excellence into global impact. Khilona has a banking background and has carved her global expertise in leading innovative projects from retail banking to business process outsourcing and contact centres. Prior to moving to Cape Town, she was based in London, helping clients across Europe and offshore markets with their strategic, operational, and technological challenges. Khilona brings her strong business and investment experience to the charity. She is a mentor and supports continuous learning within the communities. Her passion is to create solutions that have social impact. She believes in the power of collaboration, and supports projects and businesses that aim to bring a positive impact to the world. Furthermore, she’s an avid enthusiast of alternate modes of learning.

Dr Julian Te Riele Julian.teRiele@westerncape.gov.za
Prof Keertan Dheda (co-director and founder) +27 21 404 7654 keertan.dheda@uct.ac.za
Dr Suzette Oelofse (co-director) +27 21 650 4166 suzette.oelofse@uct.ac.za

Please complete this form and we will contact you.

please prove you are not a robot...

Contact Details

  • Address: Free Of TB NPC, University of Cape Town Lung Institute, George Street, Mowbray, 7700
  • NPC registration no: 2014/143828/08
  • NGO registration no: 147-233 NPO
  • PBO registration no: 930049193
  • Email: info@freeoftb.com
  2023 copyright      powered by cloudworks      admin