"In an attempt to tackle tuberculosis [TB] among current and former miners, their families, and affected communities, 15 southern African leaders signed a Declaration on TB in the Mining Sector, a legal instrument, at the recent summit meeting of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Heads of State and Government in Maputo, Mozambique," the Lancet reports. "The declaration is to ensure commitment and accountability by member states to improve the lives of those affected by tuberculosis," the journal writes, adding, "A code of conduct, to accompany the declaration, will be signed by the region's health ministers next month."
"According to the declaration, the main challenges facing miners, ex-miners, and their communities in the region" include "a lack of access to basic health and social services," "the absence of effective cross-border medical referral systems," and "inadequate or no legal protection for mineworkers," among other factors, the Lancet notes. "In addition to the human toll, tuberculosis in the mining sector results in huge health care costs and greatly reduced productivity," the journal writes. Joel Spicer, a senior strategist with the Stop TB Partnership, "underscored the global importance of the issue, saying that there are emerging economies that have mining and tuberculosis challenges at home but are also increasingly engaged in extractive industry investments in other countries," the Lancet adds (Baleta, 10/6).