STATEMENT ON THE PUBLICATION OF NOTIFIABLE CONDITIONS REGULATIONS
The recent Listeriosis outbreak, demonstrates the importance of the control of notifiable conditions. Such control is a vital function of the protection and promotion of public health, and it requires an enabling framework for its implementation to effectively respond to the risk posed by communicable conditions to public health.
In this context we note that on 15 December 2017, the Minister of Health promulgated the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions (“the Regulations”), one month short of 10 years after the first draft of the Regulations was published for comment.
South Africa has one of the highest burdens of TB in the world with more than 454 000 new cases in 2015. The fact that the control of notifiable conditions is currently terribly lacking was 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. The country’s TB burden.
SECTION27 welcomes the promulgation of the Regulations and the fact that the vast majority of our submissions on various iterations of the Regulations over the years have been taken into account. However we have also informed the NDoH of our concerns about the absence of specific provisions regarding the conditions of quarantine and the mechanisms for reporting from sub-district level to district, provincial and nation level in the Regulations. Nonetheless they provide a good foundation for improved control of notifiable conditions in South Africa, particularly if a proper budget is allocated for their implementation.
We therefore welcome this important step for public health.
The Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions can be found here