The Cape High Court has authorised the isolation of patients with extremely drug resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) to protect the health of the public, reports the SABC.
This, after the Western Cape health department asked the court to decide whether the compulsory admission and continued isolation of patients at the Brooklyn Chest Hospital, near Milnerton, was legally justifiable.
According to the SABC, the court found that the isolation of patients with infectious diseases such as XDR-TB was universally recognised in democratic societies.
Isolation was justified to protect the public, even though it intruded on the privacy of those involved.
Describing the matter as a test case for the rest of the country, Western Cape health MEC Pierre Uys told the national broadcaster he was satisfied with the ruling.
Not all experts agree isolation is the answer
“We are not against the isolation of patients, per se,” said Mr Mark Heywood, Director of the Aids Law Project during a press conference at the recent TB Conference held in Durban. “But we do believe that the way this policy is currently being implemented has a number of very serious problems.
“Some people feel that their lives are being disrupted. People want to escape [from these facilities] because they are taken away from their families, their access to grants.
“We believe its an inefficient public health policy because it makes people scared of an XDR or MDR diagnosis, which keep people out of health care services.
“We want a flexible policy that’s legal and that’s respectful of people’s rights,” Heywood concluded. - (Sapa, July 2008)
New XDR-TB test for SA
Govt helping spread TB - IFP