Letter to the Editor

 Welcome to the start of another year, and the first issue of Occupational Health Southern Africa of 2017. We have a variety of offerings inside, and hope to keep you up-to-date with research, topical issues and interesting news throughout the year.

The academic papers include a case report, a back to basics paper, and an original research article. Dingani Moyo and Spo Kgalamono describe an ex-miner with silico-tuberculosis and progressive massive fibrosis in Zimbabwe, a country where little research on these diseases has been conducted. We welcome all papers and news about occupational health from other countries in the region.

The second in the series of back to basics papers on work-related infections, by Onnicah Matuka and Tanusha Singh from the National Institute for Occupational Health, is titled ‘Prevention and control strategies’. This follows on from ‘Risks of exposure to infectious agents in the workplace’, published in 2013.

Khomotso Motiang and Paul Chelule discuss their findings on reported symptoms in radiographers and darkroom operators in state hospitals in Limpopo province, South Africa, where chemicals are still commonly used in conventional radiographic film processing.

Dr Chris van Selm has written an opinion piece about conflict resolution. Some of you might remember that Chris was the first editor of Occupational Health Southern Africa, from 1995 to 1997, followed by Dr Mike Baker. Chris also served on the SASOM Executive Committee from 1994 to 1997.

I would like to draw your attention to Workplace Health Without Borders (WHWB). The not-for-profit organisation, based in Canada, has as its vision ‘A world where workers, their families and communities do not get ill because of their work’. WHWB was founded by a group of occupational hygienists in 2011 to address occupational health and safety issues around the world. Their focus is on under-served worker populations to whom they provide technical assistance, training, and skills development to help them develop the capacity and local infrastructure to manage and improve health conditions in their workplaces. For more information, please visit their website: http://www.whwb.org/home/, where you will currently find the 14th NIH National Toxicology Program (NTP) Report on Carcinogens, information about the mentoring WHWB programme offered to individuals new to the occupational health field, and much more.

In this issue, the MMPA reports on the progress of the Masoyise iTB industry flagship project which was commissioned to address the burden of tuberculosis in the South African mining sector. The SAIOH page is full of news of events held and achievements accomplished in 2016, and we have published all the abstracts from the Annual Conference held at Blyde Canyon in Mpumalanga. Both SASOM and SASOHN have provided comprehensive reports on their respective Annual Conferences, together with colourful photographs of the participants.

Both SAIOH and SASOHN elected new Presidents at the end of last year: Kenneth Hlungwane and Denise Minnie, respectively. Dr Khanyile Baloyi was elected the new MMPA President for 2017 in the latter part of 2016, and Prof. Daan Kocks remains the SASOM President.

On behalf of the Occupational Health Southern Africa Editorial Board, I would like to congratulate Johan du Plessis, SAIOH journal representative, on his promotion to full professor at North West University. Johan has been a valuable member of the Editorial Board since 2012.

I hope that you all had a restful time over the holidays, and have returned to work or your studies with renewed energy and motivation. I wish you a productive and fulfilling 2017.

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