Drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) is a major threat to global public health, causing one in four estimated worldwide deaths attributable to antimicrobial resistance.
In South Africa, DR-TB transmission within clinics, particularly to HIV positive people, is well-documented. Most TB transmission happens before people start TB treatment, but DR-TB transmission may continue after treatment is started, raising concern as DR-TB services in South Africa are decentralised from hospitals to primary care clinics. The extent to which exposure in clinics, as compared to other community settings, drives ongoing transmission of DR-TB requires better definition, to mobilise necessary resources to address this problem. Guidelines for clinics concerning infection prevention and control (IPC) measures to reduce DR-TB transmission are widely available. There is ample evidence that recommended measures are not put into practice, but limited understanding of the reasons. A comprehensive approach to understanding barriers to implementation is required to design effective IPC interventions for DR-TB.