South African TB Conference Hears Demands From Advocacy Organizations To Improve, Decentralize Treatment

The 2012 South African TB Conference opened Tuesday night in Durban, with the Treatment Action Campaign, Section27, and Oxfam delivering “a memorandum containing five demands to conference organizers shortly before the opening,” health-e News Service reports. The organizations “called for patients with drug-resistant TB who were failing to respond to treatment to be given ‘access to the best available medicines,'” even if they are not yet approved by the Medicines Control Council; “the diagnosis of all people living with TB”; and “the decentralization of care for people with drug-resistant TB, enabling them to be treated at home instead of hospitalized for long periods,” the news service writes (Cullinan, 6/13).

PlusNews reports on the conference and the South African government’s efforts to decentralize care for multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB). “The provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape have been implementing decentralized or community-based MDR-TB treatment for several years, and positive results from both provinces provided policymakers with the evidence to counter initial resistance to decentralized MDR-TB care,” the news service notes, adding that national guidelines calling for decentralized care were released in August 2011 after two years of planning (6/14).