Ministry steps up TB fight

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Dr Llang Bridget Maama

Limpho Sello

THE Ministry of Health has stepped up its fight against tuberculosis (TB) among Basotho miners and ex-miners by opening an Occupational Health and Safety Centre at Mafeteng Government Hospital.

Two more centres are set to be opened in the Maseru and Leribe districts, bringing the total cost to M30 million.

Ministry of Health TB Manager, Llang Maama said the Mafeteng centre was opened in January after the ministry successfully applied for the M30 million Regional Global Fund grant “to fight TB in the mining sector”.

“We got support of M30 million that went into establishing three Occupational Health and Safety Centres in the three districts of Mafeteng, Maseru, and Leribe.

“Construction of the Maseru and Leribe centres is underway. The Maseru centre was initially planned for Queen Elizabeth II Hospital but has since been moved to Botshabelo,” Dr Maama said.

Dr Maama said in the meantime mine workers working in South Africa could visit the Mafeteng centre for services, adding, this helped the ministry to strengthen its occupational health services to all citizens.

“Services offered to the miners include screening, X-rays and the relevant documentation for tests that are positive for TB and other lung diseases.

“The centre also helps by making it easier for miners to claim compensation if they are found to have TB and it also ensures they have regular medical check-ups so that they heal and become TB free.”

Dr Maama said the decision to open the first centre in Mafeteng was based on the fact most of Basotho employees in the South African Mines were from the district.

Dr Maama said after providing miners with the relevant documentation and test results they worked closely with the Labour Ministry to facilitate compensation claims.

She said the establishment of the centres was cost effective for the miners who used to travel in and out of the country for test and submissions.

Health Minister, Dr ‘Molotsi Monyamane concurred with Dr Maama, saying most miners used the Van Rooyen border post to and from South Africa, suggesting that the district had the highest population of mine workers hence the need to set up the centre.

“The special clinic for miners is a new building that is equipped with the modern technology to fast track the outcome of the result as well as ensuring the accuracy of the examination results,” Dr Monyamane said.

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