High TB burden countries urged to team up in fighting the disease

DAR ES SALAAM: HIGH Tuberculosis (TB) burden countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have been urged to collaborate and come up with the best plan to eliminate the disease in mining areas.

According to the 2022 World Health Organisation (WHO) Global TB report, it is estimated that in the year 2021, 9.9 million persons were affected with TB, of which 56 per cent are men, 11 per cent children and 8 per cent people Living with HIV.

According to the Gender and Human Rights Specialist for the East, Central and Southern African – Health Community (ECSA-HC), Ms Anita Kyaruzi the same report updated the list of high burden countries for TB where the SADC region contributes significantly to the global burden of tuberculosis (TB).

Ms Kyaruzi made the remark recently in Dar es Salaam at the closing of a Regional Training of Key Population Organisations and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Human Rights Evidence-based Advocacy, Policy Dialogue and Programming to make TB services better in their countries.

Among the Key Populations (KP) working in the mining sector, include miners, ex-miners, women in mining, artisanal and small-scale miners and communities living around mining areas.

Ms Kyaruzi underlined deliberate multisectoral collaboration to eliminate TB among the people living in mining areas.

She added that the move will also achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of reducing the number of TB deaths by 90 per cent in 2030.

“We need to work together; the ministries of health are not going to do by themselves in the countries …so all the ministries, all the mining companies, key populations and CSOs should come up with the best plan to end TB,” she emphasised.

Regarding the training, she said the programme coordinated by ECSA-HC seeks to empower key populations and CSOs in SADC countries to play a more active role in the fight against TB in the mining sector while upholding the principles of human rights.

“It is expected that the knowledge and skills gained during this training will contribute to more effective and equitable TB responses in mining communities throughout the region.” She added.

In a related development, she said about 35 participants actively represented key population involved in TB work in the mining sector, from across the participating SADC countries.

For part, Chairperson of SADC Women in Mining Association, Ms Nametso Ntsosa said the workshops were fruitful for her while pledging to share it with their fellow associations when she returned to Botswana.

For his part, Communication and Advocacy Specialist- ECSA-HC, Justin Mahimbo said the project is focusing mainly in mining sectors.

ECSA-HC is an inter-governmental health organisation that fosters and promotes regional cooperation in health among member states and beyond where currently implementing TIMS project in 16 SADC countries to eliminate TB in mining.

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