Here’s a final blog from my International ministerial visit to Southern Africa last week:
I ended my trip to southern Africa with a meeting on TB in the region’s mines.
The two are closely linked as HIV dramatically increases susceptibility to TB which helps explain why Africa is the region most affected by TB, and Southern Africa shouldering an incomparably high burden.
And the disease is most prevalent in the mines –it’s estimated that half a million mine workers have the highest TB incidence in the world and three to seven per cent of miners are becoming ill with TB every year.
Rightly, there is a lot of interest from Parliamentarians on this subject back home – from both MPs and Lords.
I want to reassure them – and you – that DFID is committed to support the fight against these two diseases, TB and HIV. With the British Government’s support, the Stop TB Partnership is active across southern Africa and we’ve been working closely with the Chamber of Mines and other partners to build a more co-ordinated approach to the problem of TB in mine workers, the local mining communities and labour sending areas.
The UK has contributed to the 25% reduction in TB deaths among HIV positive people globally since 2004 and the 28% reduction in Africa over the same period.
We will continue to highlight and support the problem of TB and HIV among the miners in the Southern African region and we now need all those involved in improving miners’ lives to build a stronger regional response through a more harmonised approach and follow-up of people with TB.