Skip to comments.Immigration Department Failed To Check On Immigrants With TB, Report Says
Posted on 05/19/2007 4:33:46 PM PDT by bd476
Immigration Department Failed To Check On Immigrants With TB, Report Says
A report released on Wednesday by the Australian National Audit Office found that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship knowingly allowed more than 100,000 people with tuberculosis to enter Australia but frequently failed to check up on whether they sought medical treatment, The Australian reports.
People with inactive TB or who have a history of the disease sometimes are permitted to enter Australia if they sign an agreement stating they will be examined by a doctor after they enter the country, according to the AAP/Sydney Morning Herald.
'DIAC has few mechanisms to monitor or ensure visa holders' compliance with health undertakings, and, thus, cannot determine whether health undertakings are effective in terms of meeting the intent of the health requirement,' the report said.
It also found that health screening procedures have 'limitations and gaps' that weaken DIAC's ability to prevent the spread of diseases, such as TB, in the country. DIAC acknowledged the system's faults and agreed to overhaul it.
Source-Kaiser Family Foundation
Thankfully the above is a rare event. It was probably just a fluke.
At least Australia's Department of Immigration and Citizenship knew they were letting in the 100,000 people with tuberculosis.
It was the responsibility of the new immigrants to seek medical treatment from the Australian medical establishment.
The Australian government can't be blamed for what the 100,000 immigrants failed to do.
That's far away from here at home. And it probably wouldn't happen anywhere else in the world.
But wait, here's this, still in another part of the world so no worries, Matey.
SABC News South Africa
Cape health authorities release XDR TB patient
May 19, 2007, 18:30
Western Cape health authorities have hastily readmitted a patient suffering from extreme drug-resistant (XDR) TB after sending him home for eight days. The move has endangered the lives of all who have come into contact with the KwaNonqaba man.
The 39-year-old man says doctors told him he was suffering from XDR TB, but then they discharged him from the TB hospital in George about a week ago, saying there was nothing more they could do.
Monde Siyoko, the XDR TB sufferer, says: "They told me at the hospital that my MDR is not curable and that I've now developed XDR and the medication is not effective." Siyoko’s elderly mother says doctors gave them strict instructions to keep her ailing son in isolation.
Medical experts say this strain of TB can easily spread by coughing, sneezing or simply talking. Mxolisi Bobelo, the local Sanco leader told reporters: "The gentleman who's released from hospital stays nearby a school and the transport here is mostly by taxis, this thing can affect a lot of people."
Authorities mum on patient's release
Provincial health authorities did not respond to SABC reporters' enquiries but an ambulance arrived late last night to take the man back to a Cape Town hospital. It is still a mystery how many people Siyoko came into contact with,since he returned home and just how many lives were put at risk.
TB is a common and deadly infectious disease that is caused by mycobacteria. TB most commonly affects the lungs but can also affect the central nervous system, the lymphatic system, the circulatory system, the genitourinary system, bones, joints and even the skin.
Over one-third of the world's population now has the TB bacterium in their bodies and sources say new infections are occurring at a rate of one per second.
Not everyone who is infected develops the disease and asymptomatic latent TB infection is most common.
However, one in 10 latent infections will progress to active TB disease which, if left untreated, kills more than half of its victims.
In 2004, 14.6 million people had active TB and there were 8.9 million new cases and 1.7 million deaths, mostly in developing countries.
A rising number of people in the developed world contract tuberculosis because their immune systems are compromised by immunosuppressive drugs, substance abuse or HIV/Aids.
Migrants' leprosy, TB, may be going untreated
By Cath Hart
May 18, 2007
MIGRANTS with serious illnesses - including lepers and more than 100,000 people with tuberculosis - have been allowed into Australia.
An audit of the Immigration Department has found that it knowingly allows migrants to enter Australia with serious contagious diseases but frequently fails to check up on whether they have sought medical attention.
The Australian National Audit Office revealed yesterday that since 2000-01 more than 100,000 immigrants with tuberculosis had entered Australia on the condition that they submit to medical supervision.
The damning report said that, despite imposing the conditions, the department was unable to follow up and check whether the medical advice had been sought.
The report comes just a month after John Howard questioned whether migrants with HIV-AIDS should be allowed to come to Australia.
It said the department admitted its errors and had agreed to overhaul its systems.
The audit said the current health screening procedures had "limitations and gaps", which weakened the Department of Immigration and Citizenship's ability to protect Australians from public health threats.
The system relied largely on the honesty of visa applicants to disclose whether or not they had a disease that could be a public health risk, the audit said.
Opposition immigration spokesman Tony Burke said he was shocked by the audit and urged the Government to implement the recommendations quickly.
Australian Medical Association vice-president Choong-Siew Yong said it was "quite concerning" that visa-holders were not complying with their undertaking and urged the Government to do more to address the situation..." Excerpted. Continues at News.com.AU:
Migrants' leprosy, TB, may be going untreated
The Gold Coast Bulletin
Probe deepens over TB doctor
NEW questions are being asked about how a Gold Coast Hospital doctor, believed to be foreign-trained, managed to enter Australia and begin work at a major hospital while infected with tuberculosis.
The questions and criticisms don't stop there.
Queensland Health yesterday was forced to defend its 13 HEALTH hotline number, its decision to promote another hotline closed to inquiries over the weekend, and its refusal to reveal information on the doctor.
The decision to use letters to contact the people in need of screening for the infectious disease also came under scrutiny.
Reiterating the very minimal risk of infection, Queensland Health and the state Health Minister Stephen Robertson yesterday said national protocols for the management of tuberculosis (TB) were in place and being followed.
"It is important that former patients and visitors to Gold Coast Hospital be reassured that there is minimal risk of them contracting tuberculosis," said Mr Robertson.
"I am advised doctors at the hospital and the Queensland Tuberculosis Control Centre have followed (the established national procedures) to the letter."
However, a national immigration protocol designed to ensure people infected with TB are either denied entry or given immediate treatment, and another check by the Queensland Medical Board, failed to identify the threat and risk of further infection.
Sources have told The Gold Coast Bulletin the infected employee is a male doctor.
Australia has one of the lowest instances of TB in the world and cases are usually limited to those born overseas, prompting speculation the patient is overseas trained and brought in to prop up Queensland's troubled health system.
Up to 500 former patients and visitors to the Gold Coast Hospital will be contacted by letter this week, asking them to be screened for the possible illness.
Screening is expected to start on Friday, with Queensland Health refusing to give out any further identifying information on the doctor.
"There would be no public benefit in releasing any information on the health worker confirmed with TB. It is in the best interests of the public to conduct the process in this manner."
Opposition health spokesman John-Paul Langbroek yesterday backflipped on his support for Queensland Health and its handling of the process.
Mr Langbroek said it was becoming obvious that the issue had been poorly managed.
He was critical of Queensland Health's decision to promote a hotline number that was closed for inquiries over the weekend, and leave off its 24-hour 13 HEALTH hotline from media releases when breaking the news of the tuberculosis diagnosis.
Though the Health Minister says the number was raised in the media conference and used by other media, the 13 HEALTH number cannot be found in the White Pages phone directory, and an incomplete but working number is provided on the White Pages website.
None of this is the fault of Queensland Health or the Health Minister, according to his spokesman who said Telstra should be answerable for the latest oversight.
Yesterday, Mr Langbroek also criticised the delay in contacting the 500 people, with the first letters not expected to arrive at their addresses until tomorrow.
"In the meantime, the hotline the Health Minister directed them to over the weekend told them to call back on Monday morning," said Mr Langbroek.
"It demonstrates that either the Beattie Government isn't on hand to handle its own crisis outside Monday to Friday 9-5, or once again their commitment to patients is nothing more than mere rhetoric."
Just last month, a Queensland Health spokesman and the head of the Gold Coast dental school, Newell Johnson, said letters had failed to reach new dental patients and that a new system was being employed.
The Gold Coast Bulletin
At least Autralia has their names, the US can’t even bother with that.
The news articles above make me thankful and proud that I'm an American citizen. Our immigration officials would never neglect to screen the immigrants crossing our borders for tuberculosis and leprosy.
It is certain that the USA would never allow the "probable foreign-born" doctor with tuberculosis to treat patients as what happened last month in Queensland Australia.
We are fortunate that any of our immigrants who test positive for an active or inactive case of tuberculosis would keep their promise to seek medical treatment, unlike the 100,000 tuberculosis infected immigrants in Australia.
It is wonderful to welcome all the new immigrants who receive medical help and support from our government officials.
We can rest assured that our government is on the case, protecting the health, safety and welfare of us citizens, too. /s
Sydney Morning Herald
Better screening of TB needed: report
May 17, 2007 - 4:24PM
The immigration department needs to improve health screening of visa applicants to ensure Australia is not at risk from tuberculosis, a report says.
The Australian National Audit Office report, released on Thursday, identifies inconsistencies preventing the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) from knowing the effectiveness of its health screening program.
While the report says the department has well-established procedures for ensuring temporary migrants do not pose a tuberculosis (TB) threat to Australia, it calls for more thorough checks.
"Notwithstanding these guidelines and procedures, DIAC should strengthen its arrangements to reduce the health risks associated with TB," it said.
"In particular, DIAC's health risk matrix for assessing temporary visa applicants should be kept up to date, to ensure that visa applicants of highest TB risk (are) identified."
The main purpose for screening visa applicants for health issues is to protect Australia from tuberculosis, a deadly disease that primarily affects the lungs.
People identified as having inactive tuberculosis or who have a history of the disease are sometimes allowed to enter Australia if they sign an undertaking that compels them to get a check-up from a health authority after they arrive.
But the audit office report warns the immigration department has little way of knowing whether people attend these follow-up medical checks.
"DIAC has few mechanisms to monitor or ensure visa holders' compliance with health undertakings, and thus cannot determine whether health undertakings are effective in terms of meeting the intent of the health requirement," the report said.
"DIAC would improve the effectiveness of health undertakings by establishing arrangements with the states and territories that enable better monitoring and reporting of compliance."
The audit office said the immigration department needed to better determine which diseases could pose a threat to Australia through migration, particularly new and emerging global health issues.
The department calls on more than 3,000 doctors working overseas to perform medical examinations on visa applicants wishing to enter Australia.
Out of 4.5 million applicants for Australian visas in 2004-05, about 400,000 were required to undergo a health assessment.
About 1,200 did not meet health requirements for entry to Australia, but 156 of these were eventually granted permission to enter.
Better screening of TB needed: report
mtbopfuyn wrote: "At least Autralia has their names, the US can’t even bother with that."
Thankfully, the US will never have the problem which occurred in the last few months in Queensland, Australia. /sarcasm
A probable foreign-trained immigrant doctor who has tuberculosis was recently employed by an Australian hospital.
He treated or had access to, around 500 people before government officials and the health department discovered his positive tuberculosis status.
Officials say that the immigrant doctor's tuberculosis should have been detected when he first entered Australia but that there was an apparent oversight.
Australian law says that all immigrants who enter Australia are to be tested for tuberculosis. If an immigrant applicant has tuberculosis, they are either refused entry or they are medically treated.
Not a bad deal. Got TB? Go to Australia, put another shrimp on the barbee and get medical treatment.
The Queensland Australia health department is assuring the exposed patients that they have nothing to worry about. They are requesting that the exposed patients be tested for tuberculosis.
Probe deepens over TB doctor
Sure, just ask Aemilius Paulus, I’m sure his child did not get TB from unscreened immigrants. /s
Don’t worry, “comprehensive reform” is on the way.
Aww gee, I'm sorry to hear that Aemilius Paulus. Prayers extended for your child, for you and your family and your child's doctors.
But then they’ll have to hurry up and make sure we don’t get any of the poisoned toothpaste from China. (my head hurts)
at a minimum a battery of health tests should be required for entry to the us and the amnesty candidates....i am sure that is racist though
True, but it shouldn't be racist, Karl. TB is an equal opportunity killer.
In Australia, any immigrant applicant coming from a third world country has the potential of having tuberculosis. And it's interesting that the Australian government has not yet identified the nationality of the doctor.
We have a huge problem not only with the borders, but also our ports. What's coming in through Long Beach these days? How diligently are they inspecting all the containers?
Thanks for the link, Lijahsbubbe. How long before Procter and Gamble or Colgate-Palmolive starts manufacturing out of country? When your head hurts, please be sure not to take anything made in another country.
On a different note: watch out for frozen broccoli, too. Nearly every single frozen package of broccoli I've seen recently in local supermarkets, even the name brands says "Grown in China."
Thanks for the ‘heads up’ on the broccoli. No pun intended. But don’t go to bed yet. Pigs dying in China.
LOL, oh dear! Well too late for me going to sleep. I'm here but due to the late hour, I cannot be held accountable for my responses, especially due to "heads up". ;-)
Possible Response 1: Were you born in a barn? Please shut the door.
Possible Response 2: I wouldn't buy a pig from there for all the tea in China.
Possible Response 3: There was once a man from the city who was visiting a small farm, and during this visit he saw a farmer feeding pigs in a most extraordinary manner.
The farmer would lift a pig up to a nearby apple tree, and the pig would eat the apples off the tree directly. The farmer would move the pig from one apple to another until the pig was satisfied, then he would start again with another pig.
The city man watched this activity for some time with great astonishment. Finally, he could not resist saying to the farmer, "This is the most inefficient method of feeding pigs that I can imagine.
Just think of the time that would be saved if you simply shook the apples off the tree and let the pigs eat them from the ground!"
The farmer looked puzzled and replied, "What's time to a pig?"
Q: What did they name the clever pig?
A friend of mine also had this happen to his girl. She is ok today.
My daughter was my last child and she had the best of care throughout her life. It was a shock. My wife and I had to be tested. We were clear-negative test.
My girl was flying around the country quite frequently for a while we suspect she picked it up by being exposed in the aircraft. This is simply our personal opinion.
A doctor friend of mine practiced in Nogales, Arizona during the 1960's. He told me that he was picking up cases of advanced TB, i.e. in the lungs, kidneys, bones etc. that the immigration people missed. To put it another way legal immigrants.
We are in a mess!
Please accept my apologies if I relayed the information incorrectly.
No apologies necessary. I hope that people become increasingly aware and disturbed about the health menace third world aliens bring with them. The invasion effects us accross the board: healthwise, politically, economically, culturally, religiously, and in obvious other ways.