Cough from the earth’s belly

The Manica Post - - Faith/health - Catherine Murombedzi

BY THE na­ture of their jobs ar­ti­sanal min­ers (mako­rokoza) work in dusty en­vi­ron­ments.

TB is a bac­te­rial dis­ease which thrives in such chok­ing en­vi­ron­ment. The min­ers may even work in wa­ter­logged ar­eas and rivers. They even dare work in dis­used tun­nels from closed mines.

The im­por­tant fac­tor that they need pro­tec­tive cloth­ing which they rarely have is not a hin­drance from un­rav­el­ling the earth. A closer look at the dan­ger­ous work­ing en­vi­ron­ment shows a cry for health in­ter­ven­tions to be ef­fected like yes­ter­day. The min­ers know the dan­gers in­volved to lack of pro­tec­tive cloth­ing. The dusty en­vi­ron­ments, lack of clean drink­ing wa­ter and ablu­tion fa­cil­i­ties. How­ever, due to eco­nomic chal­lenges they em­bark on the work not for the faint-hearted at their own peril. The min­ers known in lo­cal lan­guage mag­weja or mako­rokoza can af­ford to buy the pro­tec­tive cloth­ing e.g dust musks, over­alls and gum boots, only that they have no time to shop around. Some­one ought to bring th­ese onto their pit “of­fices”.

Talk­ing to a miner from Marange, Mutare who only pre­ferred to give his first name Jasper it ap­peared time was not on his side and that of his pals.

“I have no time to get the pro­tec­tive cloth­ing. If you can bring me gum­boots and an over­all I can buy at a good price,” said Jasper. Jasper works in an en­vi­ron­ment with no proper ablu­tion fa­cil­i­ties. The dan­gers of in­fec­tions from pol­luted wa­ter sources are real. Jasper said toi­lets were a lux­ury and could do with­out. “We are work­ing men who do not care much about a toi­let my sis­ter,” said Jasper. Food out­lets are makeshift and are a health haz­ard.

The po­ten­tial of get­ting TB in such a work­place is high. The dan­gers associated with lack of pro­tec­tive cloth­ing is real, hence the point­ing out of this piv­otal work­ing as­pect.

The min­ers are ei­ther in the pits or they are so­cial­is­ing af­ter a day’s hard back break­ing work. So­cial­i­sa­tion means a head rest­ing on an op­po­site sex’s shoul­der, usu­ally a home away from home. “Our wives are at home, so sis­ters here give us the re­quired du­ties of bush wives,” said Jasper.

The in­dus­try is a cut throat one where a day away from the “of­fice” is not af­forded. Time to get to health cen­tres is deemed a waste. One only seeks at­ten­tion when they are wasted away and it is too late to be treated and re­cover. TB and HIV co-in­fec­tion is high, hence the need to take the sec­tor as a key pop­u­la­tion. Un­der aged work­ers are found among the min­ers and early sex­ual de­but is rife. Sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tions are high. Up­take of con­doms does not re­sult in use, hence the rise in sex­ual in­fec­tions.

Jasper said many min­ers die as they de­fault af­ter run­ning out of med­i­ca­tion.

“Time is money, many min­ers fail to travel to col­lect med­i­ca­tion. Some end up shar­ing tablets. A num­ber of guys have died af­ter de­fault­ing,” said Jasper.

The women who run “pit of­fice kitchens” need to be the cham­pi­ons in con­dom dis­tri­bu­tion and be equipped with in­for­ma­tion to urge th­ese men and women of steel not to de­fault if al­ready on treat­ment.

The ar­ti­sanal kind of work is tough and sees re­tire­ment as early as 40 years.

Some­one has to con­sci­en­tise the min­ers on the as­pect ‘make hay while the sun still shines’. The no­tion that: “I will work to­mor­row” for more is a losers par­adise. Who knows to­mor­row, no-one. The “home” away from home is­sue where part time wives are swapped has dan­gers in high sex­ual trans­mis­sion. The sex­ual net­works are noth­ing new hence the need to have cham­pi­ons dish­ing out cooked meals and pro­tec­tion in the form of con­doms and aware­ness.

In­for­ma­tion dis­sem­i­na­tion is valu­able.

◆ Feed­back:cathymwauyak­

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.