Dagga problem at TB hospital

The management of Port Elizabeth's Jose Pearson Tuberculosis Hospital has taken steps to crack down on dagga smoking by patients with drug-resistant strains of TB.

The management of Port Elizabeth's Jose Pearson Tuberculosis Hospital has taken steps to crack down on dagga smoking by patients with drug-resistant strains of TB.

Provincial health department spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said yesterday that some patients with extreme or multi-drug resistant TB being held in isolation had been using their cellphones to order the drug.

Suppliers would then toss packets to them over the hospital fence, he said. The hospital management had already met police on the issue - and a meeting with the patients themselves would follow.

"We will be telling the patients that if they continue taking the substance, it will be extremely dangerous for their health," Kupelo said.

He said smoking increased the risk of TB, and the department discouraged the habit. "We also want to appeal to those who supply them with this kind of thing [dagga] to stop it," he said.

Patients had also been getting liquor and dangerous weapons the same way. He said security at Jose Pearson had been stepped up following the escape of a number of patients last year.

One patient absconded last week, using a knife to threaten security staff, but was brought back after the department obtained a court order. - Sapa

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