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World TB Day Statement by The People's Health Movement South Africa

29 Mar 2016

The statement below has been issued by the People’s Health Movement South Africa on the World TB Day 2016


As the world commemorates the World TB day today 24 March 2016,we note the growing epidemic of DR TB, affecting mainly poor and vulnerable populations in our country.
We call upon our government to take necessary steps to address and strengthen the health system, invest resources to prevent TB transmission, and expand access to early diagnosis and effective treatment for all forms of TB.

TB is a problem driven by poverty, poor housing, inadequate nutrition and overcrowded transport systems and whose transmission is aggravated by unsafe working conditions on the mines. We know that this situation is a violation of the Right to Health as framed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which South Africa ratified last year.
We also know that the lack of drug development for TB is responsible for the situation where patients with DR TB have to take drugs that have many side effects and are of poor efficacy – because drug companies have not developed drugs for TB because it is not profitable to do so – TB is a disease of the poor and there is no money to be made from poor populations.
This is a situation where people who need it most do not enjoy the benefits of science and scientific progress, which is used to develop drugs for populations that are wealthy enough to pay and give the pharmaceutical industries profits.

However, the ICESCR includes a provision that we are all entitled to enjoy the benefits of Scientific Progress. We therefore call on the South African government to take active steps – both to realise the right to health through providing non-discriminatory, accessible and quality services for patients with DR TB, and to ensure that scientific development invests in measures that develops treatment for DR TB that address the most vulnerable of the population.

TB is everyone’s problem and we should take action to address it.

We continue calling on the South African government;

  • To honour its obligations under the ICESCR to progressively realise the right to health and to realise the right of everyone to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.
  • Improve our housing backlogs. Poor housing spreads TB easily to the other family members.
  • To provide nutritious food to those infected by TB and improve the food security.
  • Take measures in eradicating TB in the extractive industries and other occupational exposure that leads to TB infection. Improve public transport system with no overcrowding

ISSUED by PHM-SA on World TB Day 24 March 2016

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