On World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, on the 24th March, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) and partner organisations asked Members of Parliament to get tested for TB during the “We die of TB” march. A mobile screening unit was provided outside Parliament by the Desmond Tutu TB Centre. Whilst our memorandum was received by a representative of parliament, no Members of Parliament came out to get tested for TB.
Then, yesterday on 5th May, Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi made a similar call during his budget vote speech. The Minister said: “I would like all Members of Parliament to undergo screening for TB. It is important.” He also said: “I would like every Member of Parliament to join me in spreading the message about TB. The three simple messages are: Get screened, get treated if you are diagnosed to be having TB, and complete your treatment.”
Though estimates vary widely, TB likely kills between 80,000 and 120,000 people in South Africa every year. In our view the ongoing TB emergency requires involvement from all spheres of government and society. It cannot be left to the Minister of Health alone to drive the response. Wider political commitment is essential – this must include Members of Parliament, but also Members of Provincial Parliaments, Provincial MECs for Health and Heads of Provincial and District government departments.
We therefore repeat our call on all Members of the national Parliament to get tested for TB.
We also call on all Members of Provincial Parliaments to get tested for TB.
For more detail on specific TB-related issues that must be addressed see the memorandum that we presented to Parliament at the end of the “We die of TB” march.
For media comment contact Anele Yawa TAC general Secretary on 079 328 1215