The state has to be held accountable for its failure to limit the spread of tuberculosis (TB) in prisons, the Constitutional Court heard on Tuesday.
TB is South Africa’s biggest killer and thrives in badly ventilated, overcrowded conditions. In South Africa’s understaffed prisons, where overcrowding can reach more than 200%, research has shown a 90% risk of transmission.
The outcome of this case will affect prisoners’ chances of successfully suing the minister if they get TB in prison.
On 28 August, the Constitutional Court will hear a case that touches the depth of what it means to be human and humane in the throes of a TB pandemic that is taking more South African lives than any other cause.
The price of a rapid diagnostic test, which slashes the time to reach a diagnosis for the most common drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis, has almost been halved - including in South Africa.
The United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UNITAID, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced an agreement that will significantly reduce the cost of the rapid TB diagnostic test Xpert MTB/RIF in 145 high-burden and developing countries.
Tuberculosis (TB) rates in South Africa's prisons could be cut by up to 94 percent if the country reduced overcrowded conditions in cells and implemented active TB case finding, according to research presented at the recent South African TB Conference.
Overcrowding and poor living conditions have driven TB in prisons for centuries, but a recent court case has finally given South African researchers at the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the University of Cape Town enough information on conditions in one of the country's prisons to mathematically model TB transmission risks.
South Africa will increasingly move towards nurse-initiated treatment for multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) in the next five years, and a programme in KwaZulu-Natal Province, which has a high HIV/TB burden, is already training nurses to manage MDR-TB patients.
Faced with a chronic shortage of doctors, South Africa moved to nurse-initiated antiretroviral treatment (NiMart) in April 2010. Now, government plans to roll out nurse-initiated MDR-TB treatment, and to make it and NiMart available at all primary healthcare, antenatal, TB and mobile outreach clinics by 2016, according to the National Strategic Plan on HIV, STIs [sexually transmitted infections] and TB.
Heavy drinkers are three times more likely to have tuberculosis than those who don’t drink heavily. They are also far less likely to complete their TB treatment. This is according to Professor Charles Parry of the Medical Research Council, who believes that TB patients should be screened for alcohol abuse and educated about its dangers.
“Heavy alcohol use is a risk factor for an impaired immune system and increases a person’s susceptibility to active TB infection and reactivation of latent disease,” Parry told the third South African TB conference yesterday.
South Africa’s move to decentralize the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) has given rise to a crop of nurses equipped not only to initiate patients on HIV treatment, but also to prescribe for and monitor drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) patients. However, experts and government officials say the need for specialist physicians and hospitals will continue, based on research presented at the South African TB conference in the port city of Durban.
Attached are important changes to ART guidelines applicable in all state facilities, some of which were already signalled in the NSP 2012-2016.
Saving Mothers 2008-2010: Fifth report on the confidential enquiries into maternal deaths in South Africa
The report covers the maternal deaths that were reported to the NCCEMD secretariat by 15th April 2011, and that occurred in the triennium 2008-2010. The same definitions used in previous Saving Mothers reports were used in this report.
Cancer services in Gauteng are facing an emergency with regular reports of broken equipment, drug stock outs, long waiting lists for treatment and delayed diagnosis.
Health-e was given dispensary order forms from Charlotte Maxeke hospital revealing among others that the academic hospital’s oncology in-patient ward 594 was unable to dispense half of the non-chemotherapy drugs and items ordered by the ward due to stock outs.
Campaigning for Cancer (C4C) is now threatening legal action against the provincial and national health departments if matters do not improve by the end of this week.