Journal of Public Health Policy

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 388–402 | Cite as

Health-care workers’ perspectives on workplace safety, infection control, and drug-resistant tuberculosis in a high-burden HIV setting

  • Jennifer R ZelnickEmail author
  • Andrew Gibbs
  • Marian Loveday
  • Nesri Padayatchi
  • Max R O'Donnell
Original Article


Drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) is an occupational hazard for health-care workers (HCWs) in South Africa. We undertook this qualitative study to contextualize epidemiological findings suggesting that HCWs’ elevated risk of drug-resistant TB is related to workplace exposure. A total of 55 HCWs and 7 hospital managers participated in focus groups and interviews about infection control (IC). Participants discussed caring for patients with drug-resistant TB, IC measures, occupational health programs, also stigma and support in the workplace. Key themes included: (i) lack of resources that hinders IC, (ii) distrust of IC efforts among HCWs, and (iii) disproportionate focus on individual-level personal protections, particularly N95 masks. IC programs should be evaluated, and the impact of new policies to rapidly diagnose drug-resistant TB and decentralize treatment should be assessed as part of the effort to control drug-resistant TB and create a safe workplace.


multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) HIV South Africa occupational health 


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer R Zelnick
    • 1
    Email author
  • Andrew Gibbs
    • 2
  • Marian Loveday
    • 3
  • Nesri Padayatchi
    • 4
  • Max R O'Donnell
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Graduate School of Social Work, Touro CollegeBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Health Economics AIDS Research Division (HEARD)University of KwaZulu-NatalDurbanSouth Africa
  3. 3.Medical Research CouncilCape TownSouth Africa
  4. 4.Centre for AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA)DurbanSouth Africa
  5. 5.Department of Medicine and Department of Epidemiology and Population HealthAlbert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA

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