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IRIN Examines TB In Southern African Mines

Noting “South Africa’s gold mines are estimated to have the highest number of new tuberculosis (TB) cases in the world, making the disease a leading export to neighboring countries,” IRIN examines “the declaration meant to change this situation.” The news service notes, “In August 2012, heads of state from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) agreed to sign the SADC Declaration on TB in the Mining Sector, following endorsements by their national ministers for health, labor and justice.” The news service writes, “South Africa is supporting the declaration and related initiatives, including a 1,000-day campaign to meet TB and HIV targets in the region, but the country has not yet officially signed the declaration, according to Lynette Mabote, regional HIV, TB and human rights advocacy team leader at the AIDS Rights Alliance of Southern Africa (ARASA), a civil society body that has been heavily involved in the declaration and advocacy around TB in mines.”

IRIN discusses the scope of TB in South African mines, examines risks within the mines that are associated with TB infection, and outlines some of the agreements within the declaration. “In the run-up to the August 2012 signing of the declaration, civil society groups like ARASA called for a five- or 10-year action plan, with concrete steps to be taken to implement the declaration,” the news service writes, adding, “Now, SADC will be looking to operationalize the declaration at national level through a code of conduct” (3/25).