TB Statistics South Africa - National, incidence, provincial

TB Incidence

The TB statistics for South Africa include the TB incidence. This is the number of new cases, usually of active TB disease that have occurred in the country during a certain time period which is usually a year.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics give an estimated incidence of 301,000 cases of active TB in 2018.1Global Tuberculosis Control 2019, WHO, Geneva, 2019 www.who.int/tb/publications/global_report/en/ This is a rate of 520 per 100,000 population. It is estimated that 11,000 people became ill with MDR/RR-TB in 2018.

There is more about TB in South Africa.

Latent TB

It is estimated that about 80% of the population of South Africa is infected with TB bacteria, the vast majority of whom have latent TB rather than active TB disease. The highest prevalence of latent TB, estimated at 88% has been found among people in the age group 30-39 years old living in townships and informal settlements.2National Strategic Plan on HIV, STIs and TB 2012-2016, South African National AIDS Council, 2011


TB continues to be the leading cause of death in South Africa. In 2018 a total of 63,000 people died of TB. Of these it is estimated that 42,000 were HIV positive.3Global Tuberculosis Control 2019, WHO, Geneva, 2019 www.who.int/tb/publications/global_report/en/

TB Treatment Statistics

Children under 5 with symptoms of TB started on TB treatment

In 2018/19 the national TB child under 5 years started on treatment rate was only 10.2%. The Western Cape had the highest rate at 32.8% and the Free State the lowest at only 2.2%.

Five of the six districts in the Western Cape ranked among the 10 best performing districts in 2018/19. Eighteen districts had a rate below 5%. Lejweleputswa (Free State) only started 1.0% of children under 5 years with TB symptoms on treatment.

It is considered to be:

"of great concern that only 10.5% of children under 5 years with TB symptoms received TB treatment in 2018/19. The country is not on track to reach the Universal Health Coverage targets for TB effective treatment. The initial loss-to-follow-up rate for children under 5 is unacceptably high".

ProvincePercentage of Symptomatic Children Started on TB Treatment 2018/2019
Eastern Cape9.8
Free State2.2
KwaZulu Natal13.9
Northern Cape14.2
North West
Western Cape32.8
South Africa10.2


TB Client 5 Years and Older Started on Treatment Rate

In 2018/19 the national TB client 5 years and older started on treatment rate was 97.8%. Much higher than the TB child under 5 years started on treatment rate of only 10.2%.The national target for TB clients 5 years and older started on treatment rate is 100%.

Across provinces the rate varied between 106.6% in North West and 77.1% in Free State. Free State also had the lowest TB child under 5 years started on treatment rate in 2018/19.  Five of the nine provinces had a rate exceeding 100%. This could be due to data quality problems or inclusion of non bacteriologically confirmed patients.

ProvincePercentage of TB Clients 5 Years & Older Started on TB Treatment 2018/19
Eastern Cape103.1
Free State77.1
Northern Cape101.5
North West106.6
Western Cape88.6
South Africa97.8

Incidence rate for provinces

Provinces of South Africa

Provinces of South Africa

There appears to be little publically available information about how the incidence rates in the provinces and districts may have changed since 2015. The data for 2015 is the data used for the starting point of the National Strategic Plan 2017 - 2022 (NSP). Later data should be available when the mid term report is published of the progress made on the NSP.

The Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape are the provinces which had the highest incidence rates in South Africa with reported rates of 692, 685 and 681 per 100,000 respectively for 2015.

ProvinceIncidence Rate 2015
Eastern Cape692
Free State575
North West528
Northern Cape645
Western Cape681

The districts with the highest incidence rate in each province were as follows:

ProvinceDistrictRate in 2015
Free StateXhariep784
Eastern CapeS Baartman1,022
MpumalangaG Sibande460
North WestDr K Kaunda690
Northern CapePixley ka Seme943
Western CapeCape Winelands880

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This page was last updated in July 2020.
Author Annabel Kanabus

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Major Source for TB Statistics South Africa