Ministry of Mines has disclosed that there has been a reduction of tuberculosis (TB) cases in the mining sector unlike in the past where more cases were detected.
Chief Inspector of Explosive in the Ministry, Zutu Liabunya, told reporters in Lilongwe after a three-day workshop and tour organized by Ministry of Mines in collaboration with Ministries of Labour and Health on Occupational Safety, Health, Environment and Community (OSHEC) and mining inorder to promote understanding and awareness held in Mponela, Dowa.
Liabunya attributed the significant reduction due to a number of factors which have been put in place in collaboration with stakeholders including the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Elimination Program (NTLEP) and the two ministries of Health and Labour.
“We were actively working together as ministries to engage miners and the communities around the mining area so that they realize the adverse effects of mining in terms of dust and other respiratory diseases that can cause tuberculosis,” he said.
Liabunya said they intensified awareness to the miners and the community themselves which has played a major part in the reduction of incidences of TB.
He added that surveillance in the mining areas like early identification, testing and interventions have contributed to the reduction.
Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) Principal Medical Officer, Dr Yusuf Mtende, acknowledged that the country is winning the fight against TB in mines because of diagnosis intensification.
“The Ministry of Health through NTLEP have introduced mobile vans to move around mining areas as well as encouraging people to go for screening,” he said.
Despite the reduction, Mtende said, they are still intensifying their efforts to get everyone around mining areas screened and if found with the disease should immediately be put on treatment.
TB is treatable if a person found with the disease follow prescription when taking the drugs without defaulting, he said.
Dr Mtende however commended Southern Africa TB and Health System Support (SATBSS) for coming up with the program aimed at intensifying efforts in the fight against TB in the mining sector.