Get Lupus Categorized as a condition/disability in South Africa

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Lupus is an autoimmune disease that affects millions across the world and particularly vulnerable to the disease are women between the ages of 15 and 44. 

To South African Departments

a) The Department of Communication – disseminating information or providing us access to contacts who are able to do so, particularly on days such as World Lupus Days for example, for it to be nationally observed.

b) The Department of Education – Lupus affecting as many people as it does should form a part of the syllabus, if not of basic education then definitely as a part of the syllabus of the relevant courses in tertiary institutions.

c) The Department of Health – providing data and whatever health interventions that are necessary including the education of health practitioners on the science of the illness, accommodative health facilities and the sensitisation of health support staff in how they deal with patients as a significant amount of lupus patients have bad stories to tell about their experiences in this regard.

d) The Department of Labour – Many Lupus patients are not accommodated at their places of work to the point that many lose their jobs. It is trite to state that this is in fact in not keeping with the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Labour policies and legislation. Education to lupus patients of their labour rights as well as an Ombudsman being available where these rights have been infringed would make great in-roads for those infected who have fallen victim to unfairly discriminate labour practises. It is not sustainable for lupus patients to be unemployed as the disease requires chronic medication and consistent consultations with health specialists of different disciplines, different medical tests and many times hospitalisation – all of which if one does not have access to income, cannot access and the fatal result of the illness therefore becomes real.

e) The Department of Social Development – providing alternative support to lupus patients. Many become medically boarded or classified as disabled and therefore are entitled to be benefactors of the disability grant.

f) The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities – the
illness is already regarded as a disability in terms of Section 18(2) of the Income Tax Act. And is tax-deductible on the submission of anappropriately completed ITR-DD Form. Taking into account that it is a disability therefore should be addressed as one in the Ministry’s agenda. Furthermore the facts that it also predominantly affects women aged between 15 and 44, mean it is also relevant to this ministry and can be addressed in the Women and Children aspects of the portfolio as well.

There’s a lot of work to be done in the country in creating awareness and assisting those with the condition and need assistance in doing so to get the South African Government on board.