Tuberculosis in Mining Societies (TIMS) program started
Community Health Workers from Humana People to People Botswana (HPP) have started the work in the mining towns Palapye, Francistown and Selebi-Phikwe. The program is called TIMS package C: Tuberculosis Screening and Active Case finding. HPP will assist 22,000 mine workers, ex-mine workers and their family members to discover if they have TB and if they have, then support them to be cured.
TB in Mining Sector program started from a recognized need for a regionally coordinated response to the issue of Tuberculosis (TB) and related lung diseases provoked by mine work and HIV in 10 countries including Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zambia.
Mineworkers in Southern Africa are at a higher risk of TB due to increased occupational risk factors from mineral dust, overcrowding and poor ventilation in mines. They frequently travel across national and international borders to visit their families, and this migratory movement increases the risk of transmission of TB infection in the areas that they move in. It also affects the mineworkers’ adherence to treatment, and contributes to the occurrence of drug resistant TB. TIMS project goal is the reduction of the TB burden in the mining sector in Southern Africa countries.
The 12 community health workers will offer public education on TB, TB screening to detect TB and HIV/TB cases, TB and HIV testing, refer for treatment and train and start patients on family direct observed therapy (Community TB care). People Living with HIV are also encouraged to start ARV treatment, as they can otherwise struggle to get rid of TB and end up dying from TB or spread multidrug resistant TB.
The HPP Botswana started screening in Phikwe at 1st November, in Francistown at 7th November and in Palapye at 14th November. The project works hand in hand with District Health Management team, all health facilities, the mines in the areas and mine and ex-mine workers organisations. The community health workers work in the communities where mine workers live. They have already found many undetected cases of TB.
HPP has been contracted to implement by ADPP Mozambique, as from July 2016 to December 2017. ADPP is contracted by Wits Health Consortium, who won this regional grant financed by Global Fund.