Image: David Harrison / The Union


Because of overcrowding and poor living conditions, mines and jails are considered breeding grounds for TB – South Africa’s biggest killer. To solve this issue, the Aurum Institute, TBHIVCare and RightToCare have been screening inmates in South Africa’s Correctional Services.

The Delft Approach

Using Delft’s digital X-rays and CAD4TB, a total of 600,000 inmates have been screened over the recent 3 years, making this project the largest active TB screening project in Africa to date. Of the project’s six machines, five are installed in TB screening clinics that have visited most of the 95 correctional facilities in South Africa.

One is a stationary digital X-ray for the largest facility, the Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town. Pollsmoor, on the outskirts of Cape Town, is one of the oldest prisons in South Africa and has housed several other liberation-era heroes including Walter Sisulu, Ahmed Kathrada, and Nelson Mandela. The inmates have been screened at a rate of around 200 per X-ray machine per day. The pay-per-image financial construction chosen for this removed the need for considerable initial investments, which is often the biggest hurdle.

Making an Impact

Tuberculosis screening has become a part of the routine in the prison. At least 100 inmates are screened daily. The TB screening program effectively fights the spread of the disease and the Pollsmoor’s prisoners are tested and treated for tuberculosis much faster. Watch the SABC report on the Pollsmoor Prison TB program below.