South African health minister: Canada should join us to fight TB in mines


As South Africa’s Minister for Health, it may be surprising that many of the meetings I will have during my visit to Canada this week are not with health officials or medical personnel, but with representatives from mining companies.

Drug-resistant TB patients have access to new drug

All patients diagnosed with drug-resistant tuberculosis will now have access to a promising new drug bedaquiline, which is still undergoing trials, via a clinical access programme driven by the national health department.

Dr Francesca Conradie, President of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society said although this access programme had already started in four pilot sites approved by the Medicines Control Council, it was now being rolled out in all nine provinces.

“We have trained nurses and doctors across the country to be able to administer bedaqualine to all multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB patients.

Maternal and paediatric tuberculosis still overlooked

The global target of a 50 percent reduction in tuberculosis (TB) by 2015 may already have been achieved, but TB remains a neglected disease among women and young children, say health experts.

In 1993 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared TB a global public health emergency.

“About one third of the global population is infected with TB, with an estimated three million cases that remain undetected,” said Haileyesus Getahun,coordinator of the WHO Stop TB Department.

Catastrophe as Eastern Cape drug stock-outs continue

Thousands of people living with HIV in the Eastern Cape are in catastrophic danger of developing fatal drug resistance due to ongoing interruptions in their antiretroviral (ARV) drug supplies, with activists calling on the national health minster to intervene.

The grave warning was released yesterday  in an updated report compiled by a number of activist organisations that are working on the ground in the province.

Five months ago the Rural Health Advocacy Project, Doctors without Borders (MSF), the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and SECTION27 released a report detailing the crisis at the Mthatha medical depot, which was unable to cope with ARV orders from clinics and hospitals. It now appears as if the dire situation is unchanged.

Motsoaledi outlines integrated health school plan

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has launched an integrated health school policy in partnership with the Departments of Basic Education and Social Development to deal head-on with health problems confronting school-going youth.

Motsoaledi said it was a constitutional imperative to provide health care to all children, even those out of the school system. “We want all vulnerable children to develop their full potential.”

He was speaking at the opening of the South African Conference on Orphans, Children and Youth made vulnerable by HIV and Aids, which included the launch of Child Protection Week and Pledge, held at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.

African leaders pledge to intensify efforts towards ending AIDS, TB and Malaria

More than 12 African heads of state and other global leaders met today and reviewed progress toward implementing transformative reforms in the AIDS, Tuberculosis (TB) and malaria responses and pledged to accelerate the pace of change (increase annual domestic funding for health care, particularly AIDS, TB and malaria services).  AIDS Watch Africa (AWA), an advocacy platform for African Heads of State on AIDS, TB and Malaria convened the meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the side-lines of the African Union summit celebrating 50 years of African Unity.

Health: Minister's Budget Vote Speech

Honourable Speaker
My colleague the Deputy Minister of Health
MECs for Health present
The Chairperson and members of the Health Portfolio Committee
Honourable Members of Parliament
Invited Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Honourable Speaker, it is now well documented and generally understood that South Africa faces a quadruple burden of disease. Many other countries are faced only with a double burden.

These four are:

Gold miners with work-related TB neglected for too long

TB is linked with a deadly silicosis epidemic hidden for decades in rural South Africa. Gold mining firms must make amends, says Jaine Roberts.

Across the rural Eastern Cape province in South Africa, up to half of men admitted to hospital withtuberculosis (TB) are former gold miners. This should not be surprising: the incidence of TB among miners is 2,000 cases per 100,000, four times the national incidence.

But researchers rarely ask about occupation when studying the distribution and determinants of illnesses such as TB — and the result here is a hidden epidemic of silicosis-related TB among former gold miners in South Africa.

TB testing in South Africa rolling out slowly

South Africa will expand its rollout of GeneXpert tuberculosis (TB) testing machines, which can diagnose TB and drug-resistant TB within 90 minutes, but concerns remain about the capacity to back up this commitment with supplies and treatment.

The country is the largest buyer of GeneXpert technology in the world, but the machines have not yet become point-of-care tests and are often deployed at district rather than clinic level. Nonetheless, they have shaved weeks off waiting times for patients because samples no longer have to be transported to and from national referral hospitals kilometres away for diagnosis. 

Sadc has less than 1,000 days to meet millennium goal on TB and HIV

SOUTH Africa and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) have less than 1,000 days to significantly reduce the impact of the tuberculosis (TB) and HIV co-epidemic in the region to meet the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDG) deadline in 2015.

Sadc health ministers and nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) will join a delegation in Mbabane, Swaziland, on Thursday to discuss the co-epidemic as well as its impact on labour in the region’s mining sector.

Organisations at a briefing in Johannesburg on Wednesday committed about $860m to fighting the TB epidemic in Sadc.

The Swaziland meeting will also look to put in motion recommendations in the Sadc declaration on TB in the mining sector, signed last year.