Report on the third regional community of practice on mine regulation and occupational health and safety, 21-22 September 2019

SATBHSS PROJECT REPORT


Delegates from the SATBHSS Project countries, which include Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, attended the third CoP meeting in Zambia, 21-22 September 2019 Photograph: AUDA-NEPAD Communications

BACKGROUND

Through the Southern African Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support (SATBHSS) Project, countries have committed to rolling out a standardised package of occupational health services and mining safety standards as part of the response to tuberculosis (TB) and occupational lung diseases (OLDs). This  commitment is implemented through (i) capacity strengthening of public sector agencies responsible for mine safety inspections; (ii) expansion of periodic medical screening and referral of diagnosed cases of OLDs and other diseases, in line with regional and international standards; and (iii) development and strengthening of care programmes for OLDs. The community of practice (CoP) on mine health regulation and occupational health and safety (OHS) has been constituted to roll out a standardised package of occupational health services and mining safety standards.

The CoP is led by the Government of the Republic of Zambia, in collaboration with the African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD), East Central and Southern Africa-Health Community (ECSA-HC), World Bank and project countries. The first meeting of the CoP convened in August 2017 reviewed and finalised the draft CoP’s terms of reference (ToR) for the CoP on mine health regulation and occupational health, and identified gaps in the state of mine safety inspection and occupational health. The second meeting looked at the progress made on OHS, provided inputs on the regional guiding documents, and shared lessons learnt on OHS laws, information management systems (IMS), and establishment of national CoPs on OHS. The second meeting noted and discussed the developed regional OHS training manual, the regional OHS inspection guideline, and developed in-country OHS research agendas. The third meeting, therefore, reviewed progress made and  shared lessons learned. The meeting reviewed the recommendations of the SATBHSS mid-term review of OHS, and strategised on how to implement them with a specific focus on strategies for primary prevention for OLDs and strengthening of the OHS Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Zambia. The meeting also focussed on strategies for OHS services provision for artisanal and small-scale miners (ASMs), and infection control amongst healthcare workers.

 

OBJECTIVES OF THE MEETING

The objectives of the third CoP meeting were:
1. To discuss and agree on strategies for strengthening interventions on primary prevention for OLDs.
2. To discuss progress and agree on a regional roadmap on the roll  out of OHS information systems in countries.
3. To provide technical guidelines on the regional baseline study report on occupational health services in southern Africa.
4. To discuss and agree on a roadmap for strengthening OHS services among ASMs.
5. To develop a technical roadmap for the Zambia CoE in OHS for years 4 and 5.

 

DISCUSSIONS

The CoP meeting discussed the progress of the OHS interventions, challenges and lessons learned, and the preliminary results of the regional baseline study on occupational health services. The results of the baseline study revealed elevated exposure levels to crystalline silica and inadequacies of regulatory frameworks. The study therefore recommended an urgent need to institute airborne dust control measures and finalisation of OHS policies under review and/or development. The CoP also discussed the proposed models for primary prevention and mine inspection capacity strengthening, the technical roadmap of the CoE for years 4 and 5, and OHS and public health issues amongst ASM and surrounding communities. Further discussions focussed on the need for strengthening health workers’ screening and infection prevention and control. The CoP agreed to start with the implementation of OHS information management systems in Lesotho and Zambia. It was further discussed that AUDA-NEPAD will host high-level meetings with the Governments of Malawi and Mozambique before the end of 2019.   

 

KEY DECISIONS AND WAY FORWARD

The CoP meeting agreed on a number of key decisions and recommendations. Chief among these included the need for the CoP to collaborate with the Occupational Health Southern Africa Journal, OSHAfrica, ECSA-HC, and academic institutions to train members of the CoP on research methodologies and publications skills, starting next year, which will be facilitated through AUDA-NEPAD. It was further agreed that the results of the regional research studies should be published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The CoP tasked AUDA-NEPAD to develop a regional strategy that will guide African countries in dealing with perennial OHS  issues,  challenges faced by ASMs, and public health issues affecting communities living in the vicinities of these mining areas. It was agreed that AUDA-NEPAD will assist the Government of Zambia with the process of developing the CoE strategic plan. In pursuit of optimising and expanding OHS services beyond Zambia, it was realised that the scope of services of the CoE, including its vision and mission statements, needed to be expanded to embrace a wider range of OHS issues. A notable point of emphasis is the need for all the Project countries to work together to increase the coverage of health workers on OHS issues, including infection prevention and control. The CoP agreed to participate in the WHO/ILO OHS data estimation project to contribute to the estimation of the global disease burden.

Participating organisations and consultants included AUDA-NEPAD, ECSA-HC, Health Focus, Prof. Gasana (University of Kuwait), Dr Frank Pega (World Health Organization) and Dr Dingani Moyo (OHS Consultant for the Project countries (Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia)).

 

Resources for updates on Project activities

Website: http://www.satbhss.org/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SATBHSS_Project
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SATBHSS/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpfa6BVEg8WhTDIgYDLwfAg
 

Report by:
Norman Khoza
African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD)
SAIOH Member
e-mail: normank@nepad.org
Chimwemwe Chamdimba
African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD)
e-mail: chimwemwec@nepad.org
Dr Mohamed A Mohamed
East Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC)
e-mail: mmohamed@ecsahc.org  
Dr Dingani Moyo
Baines Occupational Medicine Centre, Zimbabwe
University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa
Midlands State University, Zimbabwe
e-mail: moyod@iwayafrica.co.zw 

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