Some mobility related vulnerabilities might heighten the risk of acquisition and transmission of TB in mobile populations:

  • People who are on the move (migrants) tend to delay, lack access to or may face barriers in accessing TB screening, testing and treatment initiation.
  • Continuity of care whilst on the move from place to place or across regional and international borders, can also be a challenge resulting in some abandoning treatment altogether. This will have an impact on the growing challenge of drug-resistant TB. There is no system in place to track and ensure migrants on TB treatment continue with care and treatment as they move between countries and regions.
  • Lack of money to access health services where such is a requirement.
  • Different screening, diagnosis and treatment regimens from country to country are just a few of the challenges migrants may face in accessing TB services and adhering to TB treatment.

Migrants in spaces of vulnerability might face increased vulnerability to TB, including MDR and XDR-TB, due to their conditions of stay. These include, overcrowded living conditions, poor sanitation, shortage of proper medical care for people with symptoms of TB.

Mineworkers, especially migrant mineworkers, are at particular risk of acquiring TB due to the conditions in which they work (underground with inadequate ventilation, no direct sunlight and sporadic use of protective gear), and the challenges they face in the continuity of treatment and care when they visit and/or return home. Families of current and ex-mineworkers are further exposed to TB infection due to challenges in non-disclosure of TB status by mineworkers.

Forced displacement of persons after conflict or a natural disaster is also often associated with an increased risk of TB due to factors such as malnutrition, overcrowding in camps or other temporary shelters, and disruption of health services resulting in the interruption of TB treatment that may result in drug resistance. Learn more: Population mobility and TB.




Partnership on health & mobility in the mining sector of Southern Africa 2014


IOM briefing note - TB 2015


HIV TB and Human Rights in Southern and East Africa 2016 - ARASA