The Southern Africa TB and Health Systems Support (SATBHSS) Project is a regional project covering four countries namely, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia whose overall objectives are to: (i) improve coverage and quality of TB control and occupational lung disease services and (ii) strengthen regional capacity to manage the burden of TB and occupational diseases in targeted geographic areas of the participating countries; The interventions are being implemented through three overarching components (i) Innovative Prevention, Detection, and Treatment of TB; (ii) Regional Capacity for Disease Surveillance, Diagnostics, and Management of TB and Occupational Lung Diseases; and (iii)Regional Learning and Innovation, and Project Management.
Under subcomponent 1.2: Rolling out a standardized package of occupational health services and mining safety standards the focus is on (i) strengthening the capacity of public sector agencies responsible for mine safety to undertake inspection of mines with an emphasis on determining mine dust levels; (ii) expanding periodic screening and referral for occupational lung diseases and other diseases and (iii) developing/strengthening care programs for occupational lung diseases. Ministries of labor or agencies mandated with occupational health and safety issues will implement screening for occupational lung diseases among miners and ex-miners.
In Zambia the Project targets six provinces where mining activities are prominently being undertaken. The Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s (MLSS) key mandate is to spearhead the formulation and administration of national policies on employment, labour, social security and social safety nets. The Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB) under the MLSS has the mandate that includes, among other, the provision of compensation benefits to miners and ex-miners who contract occupational TB and Silicosis. However, Zambia has experienced challenges providing OHS services to ex-miners due to lack of accurate data on numbers and locations of Ex-miners. This is because there has been no study undertaken to quantify the number of ex-miners and their locations by Government or indeed through this project or the Global Fund supported project: Tuberculosis in the Mines (TIMs). Therefore, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, with funding from the SATBHSS Project, plans to conduct a mapping of ex-miners to facilitate OHS planning and decision making for service delivery for ex-miners.