TAC audit reveals public clinics present risk of contracting TB

The disease remains the leading cause of death in South Africa, claiming over 30,000 lives in 2015.

Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - A Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) audit has revealed that public clinics are doing little to prevent the spread of tuberculosis (TB) at their facilities.

The disease remains the leading cause of death in South Africa, claiming over 30,000 lives in 2015.

The survey was done on 207 public clinics as part of the run-up to World TB Day on Saturday.

The total TB rates seem to be decreasing since 2015 but multi and extreme drug-resistant TB rates on the other hand have been rising.

While public clinics are expected to be facilities of medical refuge, the TAC's Lotti Rutter says patients walking into them without TB may leave with it.

“Showing a significant TB risk when you go to the clinic and you are put in a very small place, with those closed windows; you’re there for a long period of time, no one is giving you a tissue of a mask if you’re coughing. So, it presents a higher risk of catching TB.”

Rutter says although there’s no research that points to clinics as the sole course of the spread of the disease, clinics aren’t playing their part in reducing the risks.

The TAC is calling on government to play a bigger role in infection reduction if it is serious about control.