Govt says prisoners to be tested for TB

Awaiting trial and awaiting a TB test: remand detainees in Pollsmoor prison. (Photo: Shelley Christians for Times Live)

Awaiting trial and awaiting a TB test: remand detainees in Pollsmoor prison. (Photo: Shelley Christians for Times Live)

Over 4% of South Africa’s prison population has TB, according to the Department of Health. The highest prevalence of TB in correctional facilities was in the Western Cape, with 8.5% of the province’s prisoners being affected. Times Live reports that the government announced new TB management guidelines recently, including plans to test all inmates suspected of having the disease.

The Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi, handed over six GeneXpert machines to the Department of Correctional Services yesterday. The machines will be used to test new inmates before they are allowed to share facilities with inmates already serving time. One of the machines has been operating at the Western Cape’s Pollsmoor Prison for the past month. Read more.

TB articles by Wits Justice Project journalist Ruth Hopkins:

“Sisters probe TB scourge in prison” (originally published in the Mail & Guardian)

“SA prisons: hotbed for spread of TB inside and outside” (originally published in the Saturday Star)

Additional resources:

Press statement: Landmark judgment handed down by the Constitutional Court on the management of tuberculosis in prisons

 

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About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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