Globally HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria are major causes of communicable disease–related mortality and disability. This guidance seeks to improve competencies to manage the three diseases at an operational level and to encourage an integrated approach to addressing the impact of the diseases in the workplace and local communities.
- The guidance should be used as a practical and accessible tool in the management of HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria throughout the lifecycle of a project.
- The guidance is designed to enable a project’s staff (eg mine managers) to ask the right questions in order to guide effective health interventions and to seek appropriate technical expertise where necessary.
- The mining industry can play a key role in tackling these three diseases. However, mining can result in significant in-migration to the project area, with the resultant development of informal housing and/or overcrowding (key factors in the spread of TB); exposure of workers to dust that contains silica (in the case of TB); an increase in working-age single men and commercial sex workers and associated risk of HIV infection; and a marked increase of breeding places for malaria vectors because of increased human activities and environmental disruption.
- While the link between TB and HIV/AIDS is well known, recent evidence suggests that there is a strong association among all three diseases, with people infected with HIV being more susceptible to malaria and with malaria increasing the concentration of HIV in the blood by up to sevenfold.
- The impact of these three diseases can be severe. In the context of the significant exposure of the mining and metals industry to HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria.
- A proactive approach to the management of these diseases can have a direct positive impact on the financial performance of the company.
- Programmes should aim to address the three diseases both internally, thus protecting the workforce, and externally, managing the disease in the communities that are the source of labour or are affected by the project.