TB and Mining
New TB Vaccines Can Transform Mining in South Africa and Beyond
There is river of TB flowing out from the mines, and a vaccine is critical to the global fight against the disease.
Mine workers in sub-Saharan Africa have the highest rates of TB in the world, with more than 867 000 new cases per year connected to the mining industry.
While nations like South Africa produce about 22% of the world’s gold, this production comes at an enormous human and economic cost. Miners’ living and working conditions contribute to these extraordinary high rates of disease, and often occur against the backdrop of geographic regions already struggling with a high burden of TB disease.
TB treatment costs the South African government and mining industry more than $360 million per year. The industry loses an additional $570 million in productivity costs, while miners lose $320 million per year in lost wages. Reduced productivity and increased costs related to the TB epidemic in mining is threatening the economic viability of Southern Africa’s entire mining sector.
Progress through Collaboration
Leaders of 15 Southern African nations (Southern African Development Community – SADC), have pledged to confront the TB epidemic in the mining industry through investments in treatment and control programs. But these efforts alone cannot eliminate TB as a hazard to miners. The most effective way to protect mine workers and create lasting value for all stakeholders is to fight the epidemic through the use of TB vaccines.
Check out what our partners are doing to raise awareness about TB in the mines:
New Partnerships, New Tools
Governments and the mining industry cannot afford to be without an effective TB vaccine. SADC nations have committed to broad strategies to fight TB, but support for TB vaccine research and development is a necessary component to end the disease epidemic. Aeras is forming new partnerships to do novel research and better understand the burden of TB in the mining community, and demonstrate the cost-effectiveness of a TB vaccine.
New vaccine R&D is a natural extension of government and industry healthcare spending, and brings more social responsibility and equity to the mining sector. These new partnerships will lead to more informed science and economics, and enable us to work more effectively toward new solutions to save more lives.
Follow the Conversation About TB and Mining
Go to http://www.aeras.org/blog/category/mining and read the recent posts.
You Can Help
Tell the Southern African Development Community nations to prioritize TB R&D. Sign the petition.
Slide 1: Photo by Eneas De Troya.