The statement below has been issued by the People’s Health Movement South Africa on the World TB Day 2015 in supports the Treatment Action Campaign march in Cape Town.
PHM supports the Treatment Action Campaign’s call on World TB Day to address the problem Drug Resistant TB (DR TB).
We note that the growing epidemic of DR TB, affecting mainly poor and vulnerable populations in our country, is one that could be addressed by strengthening the health system, investing resources in preventing TB transmission, and expanding access to early diagnosis and effective treatment for all forms of TB.
TB is a problem driven by poverty, poor housing, inadequate nutition 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.
We commend the TAC for bringing this matter to public attention. TB is everyone’s problem and we should take action to address it.
We call on the SA 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 easilyto the other family members.
- To provide nutrious food to those infected by TB and improve the food security.
- Take measures in eradicating TB in the extractive industires 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 2015
129 Rochester Road Obsevatory Cape Town.
For more information contact Tinashe
Office 021 447 5770
Cell 078 831 5809