Overcrowding fuels TB in prisons

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.

First nurses trained to initiate MDR-TB treatment

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.

Alcoholics more likely to get 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.

Decentralizing care and treatment for drug-resistant TB

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.

NDoH changes to ART guidelines

Published by: 
Department of Health (South Africa)

Attached are important changes to ART guidelines applicable in all state facilities, some of which were already signalled in the NSP 2012-2016.

Cancer services take strain in Gauteng

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.

Management of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis - Policy Guidelines

Published by: 
Department of Health (South Africa)

Key Issues in the Management of Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

1. Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is defined as tuberculosis (TB) disease where there is in vitro resistance to both isoniazid and rifampicin, with or without resistance to other anti-TB drugs. As isoniazid and rifampicin are the two most important first-line TB drugs, their removal through resistance from the anti-TB drug armamentarium has serious implications.

Progress in fight against Aids: Motsoaledi

The government is achieving its targets in the fight against HIV/Aids, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Tuesday.

South Africa started the early decades of HIV and Aids "on a wrong footing", he told the National Assembly during debate on his budget vote.

"But recently, in a typical South African style, we have bounced back.

"We have shown that collaboration and solidarity against a shared threat and a common goal is desirable and can produce desired results," Motsoaledi said.

Through combined efforts and collaborative undertaking, a campaign had been launched to counsel and test 15 million South Africans for HIV.

Department of Health Budget Vote Speech 2012/12: National Assembly, Cape Town

Published by: 
Department of Health (South Africa)

Honourable Chairperson

Ministers present here today

My Colleague Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa

MEC’s of Health from various Provinces

Honourable Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Dr Monwabisi

Goqwana and Members of your Committee

Honourable members of the House

Director –General of Health Ms Precious Matsoso

Your excellencies, High Commissioners and Ambassodors

Leaders of various statutory bodies, Health Unions and other Health related Organisations

Our Special guest the Rollback Malaria and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and UN Envoy for Africa, Ms Yvonne Chaka Chaka

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen