A desk review was commissioned by the Regional Network for Equity in Health in East and Southern Africa (EQUINET) through Training and Research Support Centre, as part of the ongoing work in EQUINET on the extractive sector in the region. It aims to inform public sector professionals, policy-makers, civil society and parliamentarians on the population health impacts of large- and small-scale mining activities in East and Southern Africa.
It presents evidence of the documented health outcomes of mining in ESA countries and gaps between what is known of health risks of mining and these documented outcomes. The paper specifies the known health risks for each type of mining in the ESA region. These risks, injuries and deaths have been reported in both small- and large-scale mines, with gender, income and race disparities in health impacts direct and indirect.
Poor communities are likely to be more affected as they have limited choices for employment, sub-optimal housing and limited access to safe drinking water. People living close to mining sites or near mine dumps and those whose livelihoods are tied to rivers for domestic and agriculture water are exposed to polluted environments due to mining wastes and contaminated air and drinking water.
Discrepancies exist between what is documented and known about the health risks of mining globally and documented levels of these health outcomes in the ESA region. There are various reasons for this. Health impacts assessments are not always done before mines are licensed. After mines are licensed, these health outcomes may be poorly monitored. Information on the numbers and health status many living and working in mining and of ex-miners remains limited.
The research report can be accessed on this link here.