05 October 2017
On 30 June 2017, nine years after the first draft of the Regulations Relating to The Surveillance and The Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions (“The Regulations”) was published, the National Department of Health published the Regulations for public comment. SECTION27 submitted comments on the Regulations on 29 September 2017 and we trust that the Department will address the issues outlined in our submission with the utmost urgency.
The need for an effective and operational regulatory framework to monitor and control notifiable conditions is urgent to effectively respond to the risk posed by communicable conditions to public health.
South Africa has one of the highest burdens of TB in the world with more than 454 000 new cases in 2015. However, the control of notifiable conditions is currently lacking, as highlighted in a survey conducted by the Treatment Action Campaign in March 2017 which revealed that more than 110 health facilities of the 158 audited to assess the state of TB infection control, fail to implement infection control measures.
SECTION27, and its predecessor, the AIDS Law Project, have contributed formally and informally to various iterations of the Regulations and participated in several public forums during the process of developing the Regulations. See our timeline which outlines our engagement with the Department of Health on the Regulations since 2008.
As we have highlighted in our submission, it is concerning that at this stage of the process certain sections of these Regulations still do not meet the constitutional requirements we have continually highlighted.
There can be no further delays in finalising and bringing these Regulations into effect, especially in light of the time that has already passed in developing them. The control of notifiable conditions is a vital function of the protection and promotion of public health, and it requires an enabling framework for its implementation.
We urge the Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi to ensure that there are no further delays in finalising, bringing into force, and implementing the Regulations.
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