Until recently the extractive industry has been largely unaware of the threat of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs), which have the potential to shut down entire operations. The 2014–15 West African Ebola outbreak changed this, drawing attention to the ramifications of disease outbreaks in terms of both human suffering and economic productivity. The Infectious Disease Risk Assessment and Management (IDRAM) pilot initiative in Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, has focused on an assessment of the kinds of risk reduction measures in place among selected companies; the industry's attitudes towards infectious disease control interventions, and; opportunities for collaboration among multiple stakeholders. The initiative found that despite having infection and prevention control measures in place for workers in camps, extractive companies cannot control outbreaks by themselves due to the close interactions with local communities and weak local health systems. Results also showed that EID prevention and control plans benefit both the company and the community and can be feasibly implemented. Consequently, companies should strengthen their risk reduction role by properly assessing the health consequences of their projects through an integrated Environmental Impact Assessment. Finally, partnering with health authorities, other companies, and external stakeholders could help to prepare and respond to infectious disease events.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Financial support for the conduct of the study was provided by the Emerging Pandemic Threat (EPT) Program of USAID (FHI360) Program of USAID. Ecology and Environment and FHI360 provided and Ecology and Environment provided technical support to the study design. AAMEG assisted the coordination with mining companies. The four mining companies involved in the study provided in-kind contribution during the field work. The authors of the article are responsible for collection, analysis and interpretation of data and for the decision to submit the article for publication.
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd
- Emerging infectious diseases
- Extractive industry
- Infection and prevention control