Target: South African Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi
Goal: Urge the South African government to provide cost-effective solutions for people suffering from MDR-TB.
Less than 10% of people living with Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) are able to afford the proper treatment for the disease. This has contributed to an overall increase in the prevalence of the illness in places like South Africa, where funds are low and people are struggling.
MDR-TB began to emerge as people refused to take the medications, which in addition to being very expensive, also come with debilitating side effects. The disease gets its name from one of its most dangerous characteristics. MDR-TB is resistant to the two main drugs used to treat standard TB. The number of cases of MDR-TB has doubled in recent years and the treatments have become too expensive.
In addition to not being able to afford the high-priced medications, patients also have limited access to treatment centers which are typically hours away from their homes. Realistically speaking, their best option would be to maintain an effective and affordable drug regimen at home, as opposed to having to spend 6 months to a year at a treatment center many miles away from friends and family.
When MDR-TB is not effectively treated, patients can develop Extremely Drug-Resistant TB (XDR-TB). This form of the infectious disease is almost always fatal as it is resistant to both the first and second line of TB drugs. Not long ago, according to the TB Alliance, 52 of the 53 people who contracted XDR-TB in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa died shortly after being diagnosed. Without access to the medicine they need to get better, people living with drug-resistant forms of TB will likely continue to unknowingly spread the illness.
Sign the petition below to demand that more affordable types of treatment be made available to reduce the spread of the disease.
Dear South African Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi,
The people of South Africa do not have access to the medicine they need to effectively treat MDR-TB. Only a few are able to afford the various medications necessary to stabilize the disease. Patients who cannot afford the expensive medications often refuse treatment altogether, which results in the ongoing spread of the multidrug-resistant form of TB.
South Africa currently has the largest group of XDR-TB patients and this can be attributed to the lack of access to treatment from the initial diagnosis of standard TB. Without treatment, not only will thousands of people die from complications related to the disease, but it will also continue to spread and target the impoverished communities of South Africa.
I urge you to demand that the costs for essential medications are lowered as making treatment affordable will likely help to halt the spread of MDR-TB.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade via Flickr