Home Institution

Villanova University

Publication Date

Fall 2014

Program Name

South Africa: Multiculturalism and Human Rights


My independent study project (ISP) examines factors that hinder access to tuberculosis (TB) healthcare and its effective implementation in Cape Town. In order to expand research on the topic, important barriers will be examined and explained. This project is relevant due to the high prevalence and mortality rates of tuberculosis in South Africa, as well as the fact that an overwhelming emphasis on HIV can lead to overlooking the serious nature of TB as a public healthcare issue. It is hoped that this study will provide more insight into improving access to TB care, and be a resource for those who may not know about the common barriers. Furthermore, the existing competition between HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in gaining the public health spotlight will be examined, specifically in relation to the effects of grouping the two ailments together under an umbrella of treatment adherence.

To carry out the study, various health care professionals, NGOs (Non-governmental organizations), and individuals in the city who had experience with TB were interviewed and asked their informed opinions of the top reasons behind inadequate access to TB care. This was supplemented by observation at two clinics, and attendance at a tuberculosis seminar at a local medical school.

This information was analysed and synthesized into a comprehensive explanation of the most prevalent factors which are: stigmatization, the role of traditional healers, socioeconomic factors, and public health issues. All these factors were found to affect diagnosis and treatment adherence. Participants also communicated possible solutions as: government assistance, education, and enhancement of public health services. This study communicates the impact of TB care disparities and relates to other disparities that influence South Africa.


African Studies | Civic and Community Engagement | Community-Based Research | Health Services Research | Medical Education | Medicine and Health Sciences | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion | Sociology of Culture


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