- One of the main reasons why the South African news media
are not being informed properly by their own health department about the
country's XDR-TB epidemic, may well be the decision to createn XDR-TB
media task force which would micro-manage the news media through the World
Health Organisation. This XDR-TB task force was formed by the world's
top-TB experts who attended the the World Health Organisation's emergency
conference in October 2006 in South Africa.
- However the SA National Health ministry also attached
very little importance to this meeting that they sent Ms M K Matsau,
a deputy-general, to co-chair the meeting for South Africa. She's also
the lower-level official behind the decision to sue a TB-hospital
in Gauteng, trying to force the release of 13 highly-infectious XDR-TB
patients back into the community, because their forced deetention was 'violating
their human rights':
- See a recent video interview of Ms Matsau's unscientific
decisions about XDR-TB on state-controlled TV:
- At the time of this conference in October 2006, South
Africa's health minister Ms Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, was recuperating
from a mystery disease which had for which she had even needed an urgent liver-transplant
-- and president Thabo Mbeki had at that point still not appointed a temporary
acting Health Minister even though the national health department had been
already been left rudderless for months due to the minister's poor health...
- Quotes at the conference about micro-managing the worldwide
news media on XDR-TB:
- "Alarmist attached messages on XDR-TB can readily
arouse fear and stigma and could hamper HIV-health seeking behaviours..."
- "Concern was expressed (by the South African deputy-minister)
that while sustained media interest in XDR-TB spotlights issues around
TB control - it could adversely impact affected populations by arousing
stigma, panic and fear..."
- The conference then agreed to set up a centrally-controlled
XDR-TB media task force -- which would create a "proactive media approach,
provide clear information on the XDR-TB situation, promote public debate
and provide space for people to tell their strories... the task force should
also ... strengthen communications channels at global and country levels."
- The conference was co-chaired by Dr Kenneth Castro of
the division of TB elimination at the Centres for Disease Control in the
USA and Ms Matsau.
- Many worldwide TB experts flew to South Africa to attend
and address it, ands Dr A Moll, the doctor at the heart of the start of
the epidemic at the Church of Scotland Hospital at Tugela Ferry in South
Africa, also was on hand to provide a very detailed report on how exactly
the outbreak had progressed during the previous three months.
- Dr M Raviglione, Dr Paul Nunn and other top representatives
of the WHO's Stop TB Department, Dr S Shah of the Albert Einstein College
of Medicine in the USA all addressed it as did WHO acting-director general
Dr Anders Nordström, who "stressed the urgency of critical actions
to address the XDR-TB crisis..." in his address.
- Read the entire report: