Guidelines | August 3, 2012
Room to Breathe
The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), with support from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), implemented “Tuberculosis Infection Control Measures in Faith-Based, Community-Based Organizations” as an add-on activity in fourteen church-based ART sites in South Africa. The purpose of the activity was to reduce the risk of transmission of tuberculosis (TB) among the antiretroviral therapy (ART) clients receiving treatment at SACBC facilities, the caregivers and staff accompanying them and the service providers caring for them. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) provided technical support during the two-year implementation period.
This activity is considered a promising practice because of the increasingly high priority placed on reducing TB-HIV co-infection, and its broad, practical applicability to all HIV treatment settings as well as other settings where adults and children -- some healthy and some immune-compromised -- congregate (schools, youth clubs, early childhood care and development centers, HIV support group venues, etc.). In these settings, people may be exposed to airborne pathogens such as the tubercle bacillus which are especially likely to cause disease in those who are immune-compromised, such as people living with HIV. In regions where HIV prevalence is high, activities aimed at prevention of airborne diseases have significant public health benefit, protecting the sick as well as the general population and health care providers. Implementing protective measures can also be considered an ethical responsibility for those managing and administering such settings.