SOUTH AFRICA’S MINING SECTOR HAS HUGHEST PREVALENCE OF TB INFECTIONS

JOHANNESBURG, April 18 South Africa’s mining sector has the highest prevalence of tuberculosis (TB) infections in South Africa compared with other sectors, says the Department of Health.

The department carried out screening of scores of miners for TB and HIV/Aids at the Savuka Mine Stadium in Carletonville in Gauteng Province over the weekend in an initiative aimed at raising awareness about TB in the country.

The lung disease kills nearly 1.5 million people each year, mostly in developing countries, says the Department of Health National Advocacy Officer for the TB Control Programme, Phumulani Ximiya.

“If you look at the statistics you get about 80 to 100 miners who die annually because of accidents in the mines, but if you look at TB statistics more than 1,500 miners die per annum because of TB,” says Ximiya.

“Mine managements should actually look strongly at providing health care and prevention health care measures so that their employees do not contract this disease and therefore they have a healthy workforce.”

National Union of Mineworkers (NUM’s) Health and Safety Secretary Erick Gcilitshana says there is a backlog when it comes to compensating mine workers suffering from TB.

“There are about 200 cases of people who need to be assessed and approved to be having TB. If you go to the compensation department, there is a backlog of more than 200,000 people.”

SOURCE: SABC