Aids Weekly Plus
allAfrica reported that the National Tuberculosis and Leprosy Program of Tanzania’s Ministry of Health and Social Welfare formed a special, 18-person technical working group to address TB control in the country’s tanzanite mines. The group met in late January to hear background information and to develop initial strategies to control TB among the miners.
A 2013 study conducted by the Arusha Non-Government Organizations’ Network stated that the Mirerani Mining Hills of Simanjiro produced more TB infections than tanzanite gemstones. Northern Zone Manager for Occupational Safety and Health Authority Mr. Ramadhan Msimbira attributed high TB incidence among miners to high mobility of unregistered miners who moved from quarry to quarry; and miners sharing cigarettes, water bottles, and dinnerware. Dr. Sode Matiku also told the working group that poorly ventilated mining pits also contributed to TB incidence.
Matiku estimated that 40 percent of Tanzania’s TB patients also had HIV or AIDS. Although Tanzania ranked among the 22 countries with the highest TB burden, Matiku stated that the country had an 88-percent treatment success rate. Tanzania reported treating 63,000 TB cases annually—approximately half of the projected number of TB cases. While the Ministry of Health had set the goal of reaching 15 percent of TB-infected children, the country reached only 9 percent. Between 22 and 24 percent of Tanzania’s TB cases occurred in Dar-es-Salaam because of densely populated, unplanned settlements in the city. Other districts targeted for TB efforts included the mining districts of Shinyanga and Mara.