Thousands of TB and HIV/AIDS patients fail to collect medicines during lockdown

Issued by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Shadow MEC for Health
19 May 2020 in Press Statements

Following the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions on 27 March, 1090 Tuberculosis patients and 10 950 HIV/Aids patients have failed to collect their medicines.

This information was revealed today by Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku in an oral reply to my questions today at a virtual sitting of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

According to Masuku, the percentage reduction in medicine collection amounts to 1.4% for TB patients and 19.6% for HIV/Aids patients.

These reductions are of concern because interruptions in medicine will lead to health deterioration and drug-resistance for TB and HIV-Aids patients. Both these diseases claim a large number of lives – there are about 60 000 TB and 70 000 Aids-related deaths in South Africa every year.

Extra efforts should be made to trace those who have defaulted on their medicine as well as distribute medicines through additional venues so that it is easier for them to be collected at this time.

We need to ensure that other life-threatening health problems do not increase during the Covid-19 crisis.