MDR clinic

Cross-border health crisis hits mineworkers

Two years ago Mopeli Mofoka, 39, left his wife and child in Maseru, Lesotho's capital, and joined the more than 50,000 men pushed by poverty and unemployment in their home country to seek work on mines in neighbouring South Africa. It was his second stint as a miner the first had been 15 years earlier. This time he was hired as a sub-contractor, which meant that despite testing positive for HIV during his preliminary health screening he did not have access to the on-site health services available to mine employees. When his health began deteriorating 18 months later, he went to a local public hospital but was turned away because he lacked a South African identity document. His only option was to return home, where he is receiving treatment for tuberculosis (TB) at a government clinic run in partnership with international medical aid organisation Medecins Sans Frontires (MSF) in Morija, about 50km south of Maseru, the capital.