This report, co-authored by RESULTS UK and the AIDS and Rights Alliance for Southern Africa, seeks to summarise the epidemics of TB and silicosis and among Southern Africa’s gold miners; to detail civil society, governmental and other stakeholder campaigns and interventions to tackle the crises; and to present policy recommendations for donor and regional governments, CSOs and mining companies.
Mine workers in South Africa have the highest rates of TB anywhere in the world, with between 3-7,000 cases per 100,000 population. A combination of exposure to lung damaging silica dust, high rates of HIV co-infection, cramped at-mine living conditions and hot, unventilated working conditions create perfect conditions for the transmission of TB. Poor economic opportunities throughout the region and a pattern of circular migration –where men travel from home to mine and back again on a regular basis- are contributing to TB and HIV being exported across the region. Recent estimates suggest that mining activities are responsible for around 760,000 TB cases in the general population each year.
Broadly, the past three years have seen a positive increase in political and corporate will to tackle the problem of TB among migrant gold miners. However, the various statements of intent and promises of action largely remain to be delivered. This report seeks to galvanise renewed and expanded efforts to consolidate these gains.