SATBHSS Project 2019 key achievements on occupational health and safety and an invitation to occupational health and safety experts to be registered on the AUDA-NEPAD database

REPORT

Norman Khoza, SAIOH Member; African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), e-mail: normank@nepad.org
Chimwemwe Chamdimba, African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD), e-mail: chimwemwec@nepad.org
Dr Fwasa Singogo, SATBHSS, Zambia; Ministry of Health, Zambia, e-mail: Fwasa.Singogo@MOH.gov.zm
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 

The Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support (SATBHSS) Project is a regional initiative aimed at improving coverage and quality of tuberculosis (TB) control and occupational lung disease services and strengthening regional capacity to manage these diseases. The Project is supported by the World Bank, in partnership with the Governments of Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. The African Union Development Agency-New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AUDA-NEPAD) and the East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) are the regional technical implementation entities. During the course of 2019, key milestones that were achieved included the opening of the first-ever occupational hygiene laboratory in Mozambique, completion of the strategy planning session for the Centre of Excellence in Zambia, capacity development in the four countries, and occupational health and safety (OHS) advocacy at the OSHAfrica Conference in South Africa and the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health in India.

 

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2019

1. Occupational hygiene laboratory in Mozambique

A landmark stride was taken in Mozambique, following the inaugural opening of the first-ever occupational hygiene laboratory in Maputo by the  Honourable Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MITTESS), Victoria Dias Diogo. The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art occupational hygiene monitoring and evaluation equipment that was acquired through the SATBHSS Project and funded by the World Bank Group. The equipment includes sound level meters (SLMs), personal noise meters; environmental dust pollution real-time monitors; vibration, indoor air quality monitors; illumination monitors; multi-gas detector instruments; and water quality monitors. The opening of the laboratory is a significant achievement that will revolutionise occupational health practice in Mozambique through the adoption of risk-based medical surveillance systems. The laboratory will be central to the optimisation of capacity development activities in the fight against occupational lung diseases (OLD) and TB in the working environment. Furthermore, the laboratory will support the Mozambican Government to assist industries to comply with minimum OHS standards.

 

2. A strategy planning workshop for the Centre of Excellence in Zambia

As per the recommendation of the 3rd Community of Practice meeting on OHS held in Johannesburg, South Africa, 21–22 September 2019, AUDA-NEPAD assisted the Government of Zambia in facilitating a strategy planning workshop for the regional Centre of Excellence (COE) in OHS. The strategy session was held in Ndola, Zambia, from 14 to 16  October 2019. The strategy planning workshop was attended by officials from the Ministries of Mines, Health and Labour, the Compensation Board, industry, unions, the Occupational Health and Safety Institute (OHSI), and Copperbelt University. The vision of the CoE is “A world-class Centre of Excellence in the provision of occupational health and safety services.” It is envisaged this will be achieved through providing quality and sustainable occupational health, safety, environmental and research services for the benefit of workers and the community at large. The COE’s key strategic objectives include: (i) to prevent and reduce the number of occupational accidents and diseases; (ii) to promote and undertake OHS research; (iii) to undertake evidence-based occupational medical surveillance; (iv) to provide compensation, rehabilitative and return-to-work services for workers in respect of occupational accidents and diseases; (v) to develop and manage an integrated OHS management system to enhance productivity, organisation performance and sustainability; and (vi) to build national and regional capacity for OHS.   

 

3. Capacity development and improvement in the Project countries

The Project contributed immensely to capacity-building in the field of OHS in the four participating countries. Inspectors, doctors, nurses and occupational hygiene professionals were trained. AUDA-NEPAD played a key role in this initiative that saw nine inspectors being trained in the use of respirable airborne gravimetric sampling equipment. A further 60 inspectors were trained in an in-country OHS inspectors’ training programme in Mozambique and Malawi. They acquired skills regarding the basic principles of inspections and risk assessment.

Twenty-two occupational hygiene professionals were trained on the measurement of hazardous chemical substances, including risk assessment. After the training, participants sat for an international exam administered by the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) under the International Occupational Hygiene Association (IOHA); 60% of participants passed the exam. Portuguese-speaking participants had challenges with the exam, which was administered in English. Thus, preparations are underway to translate and offer the examination in Portuguese in 2020.

Twenty-four medical doctors and occupational health nurses were trained on basic occupational health principles, with a focus on medical surveillance and compensation. The training was organised to facilitate capacity development in occupational health skills in medical surveillance and compensation principles for miners and ex-miners in the country. The training was done in collaboration with the Compensation Commissioner for Occupational Diseases (CCOD), under the South African Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases (MBOD).

 

4. Knowledge dissemination and Project advocacy

OSHAfrica Conference and the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health

Twelve delegates were supported fully to attend the OSHAfrica 2019 Conference, held from 18 to 20 September 2019 at Emperors Palace in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Conference attracted over 1 200 delegates from more than 57 countries. There were 16 presentations about the SATBHSS project, including two keynote addresses (one by the Honourable Minister of Mines of Zambia, Richard Musukwa), eight oral presentations, four panel discussions, and two poster presentations. Dr Fwasa Singogo from Zambia won the best poster presentation award.  Table 1  depicts the breakdown of the presentations at the Conference.

The Project results were also shared at the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health in Hyderabad, India. A Project workshop was held on 30 October 2019, where Norman Khoza presented a paper on “Control of TB and occupational lung diseases and private sector engagement in TB management in the mining sector for the SATBHSS countries”, and Dr Mohamed A Mohamed spoke about “Cost-benefit analysis and health impact of investing in TB control programmes”.

  

Advocacy

The implementation progress of the Project was presented at the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) ministers of health and ministers responsible for HIV/AIDS meeting in November 2019. The Project outcome was presented at the AIDS Watch Africa (AWA) meeting, a statutory entity of the African Union mandated to lead advocacy, accountability and resource mobilisation efforts to end AIDS, TB and malaria by 2030. In addition, the Project results were shared at the communities of practice with 10 African countries, the SADC secretariat and the World Health Organization.

 

2020 WORK PLAN

The key areas of focus in 2020 will be the training of occupational health nurses and doctors and occupational hygiene professionals towards their international certifications and recognition; OHS inspectors on risk management and use of occupational hygiene instruments; and attachments and twinning of OHS professionals to enhance knowledge exchange and mentorship. Through an agreement with Occupational Health Southern Africa Journal, 16 OHS professionals will be trained on scientific writing. We invite other professionals with international expertise to take part in the SATBHSS Project activities. Should you be interested in this project, please complete the information template below, then sign, date and submit it with the Declaration to Norman Khoza at normank@nepad.org and Nthabiseng Moiloa at nthabisengm@nepad.org. Please note that the purpose of the template is to have an occupational health and safety expert database.

Expert group submission template

1. First name 2. Surname 3. Short biography (max. 350 words) 4.  Professional registration 5. Contact details (mobile phone, e-mail, skype  etc.) 6. Summary of key publications

Declaration: I hereby declare that all the information provided is true to the best of my    knowledge. I am fully aware that any incorrect information submitted will automatically disqualify me or my organisation from participating in any activities performed, or to be performed, in AUDA-NEPAD, its member states and its Project partners (facilitated by AUDA-NEPAD).

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

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