The Union

Tackling tuberculosis in key affected populations

Room: Auditorium I

Moderator: Aaron Oxley (UK)

Drug resistance and the contribution of zoonotic TB

Speaker: Paul van Helden (South Africa)

Prof Paul van Helden (South Africa) is Director of Stellenbosch University’s Medical Research Centre.

Prof van Helden decided to focus his research on TB in 1989 and became acting director of Stellenbosch University’s Medical Research Centre the following year. He was appointed director in 1992 and has overseen its growth from one to 110 PhD students working on TB. Widely known as both a researcher and mentor, with Prof van Helden’s leadership, the MRC is today a world-class research centre focused on TB and has helped make Stellenbosch University one of the top 20 institutions in TB research worldwide.

uBuntu and research involving communities with a high burden of TB

Speaker: Nicholas Bhengu (South Africa) is Pastor, Uniting Presbyterian Church in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

Rev Nicholas Busani Bhengu is a native of KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa and today presides over the Uniting Presbyterian Church in the Caluza community of Pietermaritzburg.

Rev Bhengu is also a member of a community research advisory team for a project on the uptake and effectiveness of isoniazid preventive therapy in a region of high TB-HIV co-infection. Through this work, he hopes to increase the interaction between researchers and communities, enabling community members to learn from and about research and helping researchers to understand the experience of the everyday citizen.

Defeating XDR-TB, disability and stigma: an ordinary call for extraordinary measures

Speaker: Phumeza Tisile, South Africa

Phumeza Tisile (South Africa) is an XDR-TB survivor and activist.

Tisile was diagnosed with XDR-TB in 2011, after already having undergone TB and MDR-TB treatment. The side effects left her deaf, but she completed her treatment in August 2013 and since recovered her hearing through cochlear implant surgery. Tisile has become a fierce advocate for better diagnosis and shorter TB treatment with fewer side effects.  She presented the first Drug-Resistant TB Manifesto at the 67th World Health Assembly in Switzerland and has spoken at numerous events, including the 2013 Union World Conference. In 2014, she was named one of the Mail & Guardian’s “200 Young South Africans”.

Award presentations:

The Union Scientific Prize and Young Investigator Prize

The Union Scientific Prize acknowledges researchers at any stage of their career for work on tuberculosis or lung health published in the past five years.

The Union Young Investigator Prize acknowledges a researcher for work in lung health published in the past five years, when age 35 years or younger.

Topics Legend

CLH = Child TB & Lung Health

CS = Civil Society


LH = Lung Health


NCDs = Non-Communicable Diseases

NAPs = Nursing & Allied Professions

TC = Tobacco Control

TB = Tuberculosis

ZOO = Zoonotic TB

RES = Research