Every year the rich mines of South Africa produce up to 190,000 kilos of gold.......but at a huge human cost. Due to a combination of social, biological and environmental factors the men that mine this gold have the highest rates of TB in the world. Many of miners are migrant workers, and as they return to their communities in surrounding countries they are bringing with them the deadly TB contracted at the mines, spreading it to between 10-15 people per year.
“If TB and HIV are a snake in southern Africa, then the head of the snake is here in South Africa. People come from all over the region to work in our mines and they export TB and HIV, along with their earnings. If we want to kill a snake, we need to hit it on its head.” Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, South Africa
Tuberculosis in Southern Africa’s mines is running rampant. Mine workers in the region have the highest rates of TB in the world, and an estimated 760,000 cases in Southern Africa are linked back to the mines. A combination of social, physical and biological factors are working together to create a ‘perfect storm’ of disease that leaves miners acutely at risk of contracting TB and spreading it to their families and communities. Despite the dangers of mine work, widespread poverty in the region means a job in the industry is the only available option for thousands of men.
On September 4th this year, David Cameron re-shuffled his cabinet. He promoted, demoted an sacked ministers from every department, from health to housing. The Department for International Development was no exception.
Over the past 10 years the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has been successful in saving the lives of over six million people. One of the key reasons the Fund has been so successful is that, unlike any other large international donor agency, it has always responded to the real needs of the countries it gives money to, encouraging them to tackle the three diseases as fully as possible.
The Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria has been possibly the most important initiative to improve global health ever undertaken. Never before have so many nations come together for a joint undertaking with such grand ambitions for global health and the Fund has not disappointed.
As the western world continues to suffer economic strife, funding for global development has never been harder to come by. To maintain finance for the fight against poverty we, as advocates, need to be making smart requests that recognise the difficult economic situations many governments find themselves in. We need to support new and innovative means for raising that money which is still so dearly needed.
Last week, the board of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria announced that it would no longer be disbursing its 11th round of funding due to insufficient liquidity as a result of donors failing to meet funding pledges.
The Global Fund is the single largest financier of anti-AIDS, TB and Malaria programs worldwide. It is also hugely successful with a proven track record for delivering results on the ground -through their AIDS programs alone they have saved an estimated 6 million lives since 2002.
On June 5th, 1981, the U.S Centres for Disease control recorded a cluster of Pneumocystis cariniipneumonia, in five men in Los Angeles. Pneumocystosis, as it is also known, is a form of pneumonia. It is one of the most common opportunistic diseases that blights the lives of people living with HIV. Pneumocystosis is very commonly found in the lungs of healthy people but causes infection in people who have weakened immune systems. These five men became the first victims of the disease we now know as AIDS, but they weren’t to be the last.
We are pleased to announce our Action call for July, titled: ‘A child’s life saved every forty seconds’ what comes next for vaccines? The aim of this month’s action is to develop long term financial support from the European Commission for both the GAVI alliance and for research and development into new vaccines for diseases like TB, Malaria and HIV/AIDS.