Members of the criminal justice, social justice and health sectors discussed strategies to prevent and treat tuberculosis (TB) – the leading cause of death in South Africa’s correctional centres – at the University of the Witwatersrand on Tuesday, 28 May 2013.

The roundtable focused on strengthening the Guidelines for the Management of Tuberculosis, Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Correctional Centres, 2013, which were jointly announced by the Department of Correctional Services and the Department of Health on World TB Day in March this year.

Some of the key recommendations that emerged from the roundtable included

  • Partnership with the Minister of Police to manage TB in police holding cells and to avoid the interruption of treatment when people are arrested;
  • Partnership with the Department of Public Works to improve ventilation and infection control in correctional facilities;
  • Implementing systems to ensure more accurate reporting of TB cases in prisons and open sharing of data on TB in prisons;
  • Improved diagnosis and treatment for detainees and staff; and
  • Integration of anti-retroviral treatment and TB treatment.

Two former inmates shared their experience of contracting TB while in custody. They included Dudley Lee, who successfully sued the Minister of Correctional Services in 2012 in a landmark Constitutional Court case that highlighted the State’s responsibility to ensure that detainees’ rights to health are maintained and safeguarded.

Other speakers included Department of Correctional Services Director of Health Maria Mabena, Wits pulmonologist Dr Andrew Black, UCT infectious diseases expert Professor Robin Wood and renowned American prison architect Paul Silver

The Wits Justice Project, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, Treatment Action Campaign and SECTION27 hosted the event.

These organizations will be producing an outcome document to capture the discussions at the roundtable. The document will be sent to stakeholders, including Government departments, and made public in the near future.

For further comments please contact:

Wits Justice Project:
Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi on or 084-283-1445
Centre for Applied Legal Studies:
Kathleen Hardy on or 082-556-5196
Nonkosi Khumalo on or 074-104-2450
John Stephens on or 073-077-5779

The presentations given at the roundtable are attached here:

Andrew black Roundtable detection and treatment of TB (PDF)
Daygan Eagar Costing and budgeting for tb in prisons (PDF)
John Stephens Legal framework TB in prisons roundtable (PDF)
Maria Mabena Presentation Guidelines Management of-HIV TB STIs in DCS 20-05-2013-1 (PDF)
Requirements of the Standing Orders for TB Roundtable (PDF)