Question NW3099 to the Minister of Health

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23 September 2015 - NW3099

Profile picture: Jooste, Ms K

Jooste, Ms K to ask the Minister of Health

(1)(a) What is the total number of prisoners in correctional facilities who have (i) tuberculosis and (ii) multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and (b) which facilities have the highest number of prisoners infected with tuberculosis; (2) whether he has implemented any infection control measures at the specified correctional facilities; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details; (3) whether there is a national database for prisoners infected with tuberculosis in the country’s correctional facilities; (4) whether there are guidelines for tuberculosis (a) diagnosis and (b) care in the country’s correctional facilities; (5) whether he has put any specific measures in place to combat (a) tuberculosis and (b) multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the country’s correctional facilities?


  1. (a) A total of 127,830 tests were conducted from October 2013, the time the Department of Health got involved with the management of TB in Correctional Services, until August 2015. Those confirmed with TB were 6,273 (4.9%) of whom, 263 (4.2%) had MDR-TB. The yearly breakdown is indicated in the Table below.

(b) There are 8 Management Areas with the highest number of inmates with TB disease. The list of these management areas by region are shown in the table below.


Department of Correctional Services Management Areas with highest number of inmates infected with TB

Eastern Cape

St Albans



Free State


Northern Cape



Kgoši Mampuru




Durban Westville



Western cape




(2) The Department of Health, in collaboration with the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, has conducted infection risk assessments in selected correctional facilities to determine the risk for the spread of TB infection. There is routine screening of inmates for TB. Inmates with TB are isolated until they are non infectious. Inmates are also provided with education/information about TB, including information on how TB is spread and the symptoms of TB.

(3) Information about inmates with TB is contained in relevant TB registers kept at the respective correctional facilities.

(4) The National Department of Health developed “Guidelines for the Management of Tuberculosis (TB), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in Correctional Facilities” and were launched by the Deputy President in March 2013.

(5) The following interventions are implemented in correctional facilities to combat tuberculosis and MDR-TB:

  1. Infection control measures;
  2. Preventive therapy is provided to inmates who are at high risk of developing the TB disease, especially those living with HIV;
  3. Screening all inmates for TB at least twice a year and testing those with TB symptoms using GeneXpert;
  4. All inmates with TB are retained on treatment until completion;
  5. Inmates living with TB and HIV are initiated on ARVs.


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