TB Accountability Consortium

TB Accountability Consortium

Activists march to declare TB a national health crisis

Hundreds of activists from the TB Accountability Consortium and Treatment Action Campaign, have marched to the National Department of Health to force the government to declare South Africa’s TB epidemic a national public health emergency.

The group marched from Heartfelt Arena in Tshwane to the department to hand over a memorandum to officials, highlighting the plight of hundreds of thousands of people who are affected by TB. TB remains a significant public health threat – it is South Africa’s biggest killer, with more than 54 000 people dying annually – 31 000 of them people living with HIV – and an estimated 280 000 infected each year. 

Their calls, which come on the eve of Human Rights Day in South Africa, underlines the obligations in the South African Constitution guaranteeing everyone the right to health.

TBAC Project officer Sihle Mahonga said: “Our Constitution and our National Health Act states that everyone has  the right to health and the state must take legislative measures to ensure that this right is progressively realised.” 

She said that it was known that the government has less money available due to austerity measures.

“But we are saying that with 54 000 deaths protecting TB services funding is vital to make sure the people are getting the treatment they are entitled to. Where there are budgets are cuts, people’s lives are cuand the TB Accountability Consortium calls on the finance ministry to strengthen accountability in this regard,” said Mahonga.

In the memorandum the groupings had three key asks from the South African government, and particularly the Minister of Health. You can access the memorandum here.  

The calls to address this pressing health emergency were first made in 2021 by the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC). To date, however, no significant action has been taken.