Special Issue: TB and Ethics in the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease
Professor Bernice Elger contributed to the special issue TB and Ethics in the International Journal of Tubercolosis and Lung Disease with an article entitled: Ethical issues in tuberculosis screening and the use of new drugs for prisoners
In the context of the WHO ethics and TB working group, Professor Bernice Elger, together with F. Mirzayev,S. Afandiyev, and E. Gurbanova, contributed with an article entitled Ethical issues in tuberculosis screening and the use of new drugs for prisoners to the special issue TB and Ethics in the International Journal of Tubercolosis and Lung Disease.
SETTING:Prisons are known to have extremely hightuberculosis (TB) and multidrug-resistant (MDR) andextensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB prevalence andpoor treatment outcomes.
OBJECTIVE:To examine the screening and M/XDR-TBtreatment with new TB drugs in prisons from theperspective of international ethical and legal requirements.
DESIGN:WHO recommendations on TB screening inprisons and M/XDR-TB treatment as well as theinternational human rights law on prisoners wereanalysed.
RESULTS:Prisoners have a human right to access at leastthe same level of TB care as in their communities.Screening for TB in prisons, which may run contrary toa given individual’s choice to be tested, may be justified bythe positive obligation to prevent other prisoners fromcontracting a possibly deadly disease. Introduction of newTB drugs in prisons is necessary, ethically sound andshould start in parallel with introduction in a civilian sectorin strict compliance with the WHO recommendations.
CONCLUSION:Access to screening for TB, as well aseffective treatment according to WHO recommenda-tions, must be ensured by countries on the basis ofinternational human rights conventions.