Prolonged exposure to mining (silica) dust has been mentioned as a major threat to artisanal miners in the country to contract tuberculosis (TB).
Malawi Network of Aids Service Organisations (Manaso) board chairperson Maziko Matemba said this on Tuesday during the opening of a three-day training of trainers from traditional authorities (T/As) Mpama and Likoswe in Chiradzulu under Tuberculosis in the Mining Sector in Southern Africa (Tims) project.
He said there is a high rate of TB prevalence among mineworkers in Southern Africa, including Malawi, because of exposure to substantial environmental and occupational risk factors.
“Mines make people susceptible to tuberculosis by 30 percent. Apart from HIV and Aids, World Health Organisation has identified TB as another condition killing a lot of people globally. The recent survey indicates that three out of 100 people have the disease and one out of three people has its bacteria. It is the mining sector with high TB incidence rates,” he said.
Manaso national coordinator Abigail Dzimadzi said the project will enhance productivity as communities will initiate TB prevention, care and treatment programmes.
“The training will build participants’ capacity in the area of the disease. Through development of TB surveillance systems in communities, life of artisanal and ex-miners, and communities around mining sites will be saved,” she said.
One of the participants from Chakachaza Village, T/A Mpama near Njuli Quarry in the district, Lizzi Misi, commended Manaso for the training, saying they will be empowered to fight the disease.
The project, being implemented with financial support from Global Fund through Achap, seeks to improve access of artisanal and ex-miners, families and communities around mining sites to TB services. n