Tuberculosis (TB) kills tens of thousands of people in South Africa every year and over 1 million globally. At TAC, we are intensifying our work on TB and building alliances with other progressive organisations in South Africa and around the world working on TB. The TB epidemic requires a global activist movement such as that which we had for HIV. Such a movement will be essential to changing the politics around TB and ensuring sufficient investment in research and development in much-needed new medicines and diagnostics.
Our local TB work has focused on two key areas: the decentralisation of drug-resistant DR-TB treatment and care and TB in prisons. Decentralising TB care means taking screening, treatment and care closer to where people live – something that most experts agree is essential to beating back DR-TB. TAC was admitted as ‘friend of the court’ in the landmark 2012 Dudley Lee Constitutional Court case that found that the Department of Correctional Services could be held liable for inmates contracting TB while in prison. Unfortunately, little has changed in prisons since the Lee judgment and inmates in a number of large correctional facilities remain at a much increased risk of contracting TB.