16 October 2013 - Johannesburg - The GBCHealth African Regional Conference opened today, aiming to stimulate increased private sector engagement in major health challenges, including tuberculosis (TB) in the mining sector.
At the opening session, Dr Lucica Ditiu, Executive Secretary of the Stop TB Partnership, addressed delegates including the first Lady of Zambia, Her Excellency Dr Christina Kaseba, the Minister of Health of Zimbabwe Dr David Parirenyatawa, the Deputy Minister of Health of Namibia Mrs Patrina Haingura, private sector executives and GBCHealth leaders. She said that the 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 the private sector joins us on this journey. The TB and Mining Summit, Mining Indaba and Stop TB Partnership Board meeting happening early next year present 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.
GBC Health is a membership organization that aims to engage the private sector with the world’s most pressing global health issues.