Partnership on Health and Mobility in Southern African Mining Sector Launched

Posted: 
11/30/12

South Africa - IOM will launch a project aimed at addressing heath vulnerabilities of 20,000 migrant mine?workers, their families and affected communities in southern Africa on 1st December 2012.

The EUR 4.9 million project – Partnership on Health and Mobility in the Mining Sector of Southern Africa – will be funded by the Minister of Foreign Trade and International Cooperation of the Netherlands and will run through December 2015.

The mining industry is a major contributor to the economies of southern Africa, either through the extraction of minerals or the provision of labour to neighbouring countries. The new project will focus on mine worker sending, transit, and destination communities in Mozambique, South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland.

South Africa, as the leading producer of various minerals in southern Africa, attracts migrant labour from neighbouring countries.  According to TEBA Ltd, over a third of their mine workers in South Africa come from the neighbouring countries of Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland.

Mineworkers are disproportionately affected by TB and HIV due to a number of structural, environmental and individual factors. These include poor living and working conditions, few recreational activities, access to sex workers and multiple and concurrent sexual partnerships. TB is closely linked to the gold mining sector due to several factors, including long term exposure to silica dust.

As mineworkers frequently move between urban and rural areas and across borders, they often encounter difficulties in accessing health care services due to lack of harmonized treatment regimens and cross-border referral mechanisms.  These challenges contribute to lack of adherence to treatment and continuity of care, which often creates drug resistance.

Migrant sending communities also face health vulnerabilities due to their poor socio economic status.

“There is need for improved collaboration and coordination among key stakeholders working on a health response in the mining sector. This project is a step in the right direction towards a regional approach to address HIV and TB vulnerability in the Southern African mining sector,” says IOM South Africa Acting Chief of Mission Dr. Erick Ventura.

Through research and information dissemination, the new project will contribute to improved and increased strategic information on health, HIV and TB within the mining sector of Southern Africa to inform programme and policy development.

The project will also pilot interventions which will directly improve access to health services for mine worker destination, sending and transit communities.

The project directly responds to the recently signed SADC Declaration on TB in the Mining Sector, which is an expression of the highest political will towards a policy environment that supports improved health outcomes for mineworkers, their families and affected communities.

For more information please contact

Gaone Dixon
IOM South Africa
Tel. +27 82 815 5161
Email: gdixon@iom.int