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19 Mar 2015

Patrick Osewe, The World Bank

Africa: World Bank Group panel's reflections at 2015 Mining Indaba on role of mining industry in addressing spread of diseases

"Better Health in Mines and Mining Communities: A Shared Responsibility"

Mining can be a powerful engine for socio-economic growth. It provides critical revenue for building infrastructure in various sectors critical for prosperity and human development...

While not immediately obvious, mining operations are inextricably linked with health: not only can mining operations create health risks for mine workers, they can also generate social phenomena such as overcrowded settlements (shanty towns), risky behaviors (drugs and alcohol abuse, sexual violence, multiple sexual partners)  and migration across borders, which can all contribute to the rapid spread of diseases...

Last month, the World Bank Group hosted a panel of industry and government leaders at the annual Mining Indaba conference in Cape Town, South Africa, to discuss the role of the mining industry in addressing the spread of diseases...Five key messages emerged: 1. Enforcement of Occupational Health and Safety Standards Remains a Challenge...2. Protecting the Health of Local Communities is a Shared Responsibility...3. Crises Like Ebola Can Provide Opportunities for Collaboration...4. Partnerships and Stakeholder Commitment Are Necessary to Sustain Progress...5. Health Systems Strengthening is Core to Transformative Results