Mining executives agree strong corporate voice on TB needed

21 October 2013 - Johannesburg - With a TB and Mining Regional Summit planned for 2 February 2014 in Cape Town, mining company representatives have agreed to hold discussions on how to highlight and strengthen corporate sector contributions to addressing tuberculosis (TB) in the mining sector.

The chief executives of mining companies plan to come together around the Summit to discuss and agree on ways in which the private sector can collectively mobilize efforts against TB, in partnership with government and other stakeholders and partners.

Their discussions will be part of a series of events focusing on TB in the mines in January and February 2014, including the Stop TB Partnership Coordinating Board meeting, the Annual Africa Mining Indaba and the planned Regional Summit on TB in the Mining Sector.

The chief executive discussions were one of the items on the agenda at a meeting chaired by South Africa’s Deputy Minister for Mineral Resources, Godfrey Oliphant and Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership, during the GBCHealth Southern Africa Regional Conference.

GBCHealth is a membership organization that aims to engage the private sector with the world’s most pressing global health issues.

Speaking at the opening session of the Conference, Dr Ditiu told delegates that the next few months presented a moment of opportunity to capitalize on growing African leadership on TB.

"We are at an important crossroads in TB and we need to keep up the momentum," she said. "We need to focus our work on TB, making sure that we find all of our three million missed cases and concentrate on hotspots and vulnerable groups. It is vital that private sector innovation and business approaches contribute to this effort. We have a golden opportunity to go forward and forge concrete solutions to the TB and mining issue."

Responding, among other speakers, Brian Chicksen, Vice-President at Anglogold Ashanti, acknowledged that TB rates are very high in the mines but that there are an increasing number of examples of strong corporate sector engagement and that by working in Partnership much more can be achieved. He noted that engaging in the communities in which companies operate is a key priority.

Delegates at the opening session included the first Lady of Zambia, Her Excellency Dr Christina Kaseba, the Minister of Health of Zimbabwe Dr David Parirenyatawa, the Minister of Health of Nigeria, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, the Deputy Minister of Health of Namibia, Mrs Patrina Haingura, private sector executives and GBCHealth leaders.