26 August 2008:
Settlement reached in Mthandazo Sibanda Landmark Case
A settlement was reached today at the High Court in the case where Mthandazo Sibanda was seeking to be reinstated on medication for Multi-drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR TB). Following recommendation by the High court, the two parties agreed to settle outside court, where they agreed that Mr. Sibanda would be reinstated on medication pending judgement on the appeal of his deportation to Zimbabwe.
This is a major victory for Mr. Sibanda and BONELA as his life, the lives of the inhabitants of Botswana were at stake. Cindy Kelemi, BONELA’s Treatment Literacy Coordinator said that whilst BONELA acknowledges the victory for Sibanda to be on treatment, the case had unearthed serious discrepancies and grave concerns in the handling of TB patients.
Kelemi said: “This case echoes some concerns on the general management of TB in Botswana. As BONELA, we are especially concerned about issues of infection control, access to proper diagnostics and treatment. We are ultimately concerned with the rise in MDR TB cases which is a pointer to non adherence, thereby questioning whether direct observation is effective and whether there are comprehensive structures in place to support patients who go on MDR treatment. In this regard we would like to urge the Government of Botswana to scale up its national response to TB to avert a looming human crisis.”
Sibanda was today removed from Prison’s clinic and transferred to Princess Marina Hospital where treatment will be resumed.