Malawi govt, CSO partner in fighting TB in mining sector

The National TB Control Programme and Malawi Network of Aids Service Organisations (MANASO) have reaffirmed their commitment to working together to eradicate tuberculosis (TB) in the mining sector in Malawi.

A senior MANASO outlining what his organisation is doing to raise awareness on TB and miners’ rights–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times
Mjojo: The TIMS II Project will also address gender issues in the mining sector–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times
Mpunga (back to camera) addressing participants to the TIMS II Project launch in Lilongwe–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times
Mpunga: Collaboration is key to end TB in the mining sector–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu
Dr Mpunga (in cyan suit) poses for photo with MANASO officials–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu, Nyasa Times

The two institutions say TB cases are rising at an alarming rate in the mining sector in Malawi’s mining sector; hence, the need for government and the civil society to collaborate to reverse the trend.

Speaking in Lilongwe when he officially launched the second phase of the TB in the mining sector (TIMS) Project on Tuesday, the National TB Control Programme Manager, Dr James Mpunga, observed that collaboration is key to ending the disease in the mining sector.

TIMS is a project that started from initiatives from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State in 2008.

The Heads of State signed a declaration on TB in the mining sector after realising that TB is associated with mining and that mining populations are at an increased risk of contracting TB.

“So, in the TIMS Project, we are looking at TB control among the mining populations, ex-miners and their communities. These are being implemented in the SADC and Malawi is implementing the TIMS Project for the third year. We are implementing this project only in three districts of Neno, Phalombe and Chiradzulu. So, what we are doing is that we find the populations, they know what TB is all about, how they can prevent and  also link them to care,” he said.

Mpunga disclosed that the government is working with the civil society as part of the fulfillment of the demands by Global Fund for the government and the civil society to partner.

The MANASO acting programme manager, Wezi Mjojo, said TB remains a big menace to people working in the mining sector.

Mjojo said it is against this background that her organisation decided to come up with the project to complement government efforts in eradicating the diseases.

She said the project will also raise awareness among mining workers about their rights so that they are able to demand compensation when they have had their rights violated.

“Additionally, we are also focusing on the she-in-the-mining sector, which specifically looks at the gender aspect of TB. There are women who are working in the mining sector, but we haven’t heard what challenges they are facing,” said Mjojo.

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