SA mining industry sets up 1.8mln fund for health screening of mineworkers

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The Chamber of Mines of South Africa on Friday announced its support for a R1.8 million health screening initiative in the OR Tambo district to mark World Aids Day.

The initiative is being carried out in partnership with EOH, Africa’s largest technology service provider, together with the South African Business Coalition on Health and Aids (SABCOHA).

The health screening programme will include HIV counselling and testing, TB screening, glucose (sugar) measurement, blood pressure measurement, and height and weight measurement.

Communicable diseases are a major problem in the mining sector because of limited ventilation and overcrowding.

The initiative was announced by the Chamber’s vice president Andile Sangqu in his address at the Walter Sisulu University Stadium in Mthatha during South Africa’s official commemoration of World Aids Day on Friday.

Sangqu was sharing the platform with South Africa Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and OR Tambo District Mayor Nomakhosazana Meth.

The Chamber committed R500,000 to the Eastern Cape province to be utilised for tracking and tracing ex-mineworkers with unclaimed retirement fund and compensation benefits. These funds will bolster existing initiatives.

Sangqu referred to one of these existing initiatives, the Masoyise iTB campaign, which is a joint exercise between government, unions and the industry, to ensure that every miner is tested for HIV and screened for TB once a year. He said that “success is being achieved through collaboration and cooperation”.

“I would like to particularly recognise and appreciate the leadership of the Department of Health under the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, and the unflinching commitment from Dr Barry Kistnasamy, the Compensation Commissioner,” Sangqu said.

“For both TB and HIV/AIDS, and improving access to unclaimed benefits, their support has been unstinting.”