Tuberculosis in the Mining Sector in Southern Africa (TIMS) is a programme that was initiated to create a regionally coordinated response to TB and related illnesses affecting mineworkers, ex-mineworkers, their families and communities in Southern Africa. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), through the SADC Declaration, provided the statutory commitment to the programme and galvanised the Global Fund to support a regional TB response in the mining sector.
TB has affected mine workers for over a century. Despite it being a treatable illness, prevalence rates are going up and cure rates remain unacceptably low. Southern Africa has some of the highest rates of TB infection in the world, averaging at 591 cases per 100 000 people compared to the global average of 126 cases per 100 000 people. The mining sector in Southern Africa accounts for the highest level of TB infections in the region. Some of the contributing factors to this are: prolonged exposure to silica dust, poor living conditions, high HIV prevalence, and poor access to health care. Mobile populations contribute to a breakdown in continuity of care.
With the goal to significantly decrease the incidence of TB in the mining sector, 10 Southern African countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe) submitted a proposal to the Global Fund in January 2015. In January 2016, a landmark grant was awarded to help fulfil this goal. Wits Health Consortium (WHC) was awarded as the Principal Recipient (PR) to implement this important grant, with oversight provided by the Regional Coordinating Mechanism (RCM).
TIMS is the innovative multi-stakeholder programme involving representatives from the ten country coordinating mechanisms (CCM), Ministries of Health, Mineral Resources and Labour; mining companies; current and ex-mineworkers’ associations; labour unions; development agencies; civil society and research institutions through a Regional Coordinating Mechanism (RCM). The initiative will focus on creating a regionally coordinated response to the issue of tuberculosis and related illnesses in mineworkers, ex-mineworkers, their families and communities.