Health in the community
The successful operation of our mines hinges on the health and well-being of our workforce. Since many of our countries of operation are plagued by a combination of high levels of disease and low levels of public spending on healthcare, a key priority of our sustainability efforts is the investment in reliable healthcare for our workforce, their families and the local community.
Our policy is to provide free basic medical care to our workforce, their immediate families and to community members within a 15km radius of each mine.
To achieve this we build health clinics both on site and in villages near each mine, funding their start-up with the aim of passing control and responsibility for community clinics to local doctors and the regional health authorities, once they are established.
Alongside the provision of a basic healthcare service, our health programmes also treat the most pressing community health issues and thus prioritise malaria, HIV/AIDS and waterborne diarrheal diseases. In 2016 we also began a voluntary Hepatitis B screening and treatment programme for workers at our Mali operations (see ‘Introducing Hepatitis B screening’).
CO-OP CLINIC DELIVERS AFFORDABLE COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE
Center Hospitalier De Kibali is a health clinic in Durba, DRC, that was initially established by Randgold and in August 2014 was transferred to community control.
Led by Dr Joseph Atanzi, it is now run by a team of four doctors and 25 nurses as a co-operative clinic that offers good quality, affordable healthcare to the community, a combination that has made it very popular in the community. Dr Atanzi estimates that he and his team provide a minimum of 500 consultations every week with the top health issues being malaria, typhoid and respiratory infections.
The cost of a consultation is just $3, a price that is affordable for most of the local community. However, in emergency situations or if patients are unable to pay immediately, the clinic will defer payment for a few weeks or until the patient is well enough to work again and be able to pay for their treatment.
If a Kibali employee or their dependent goes to the co-operative clinic, Kibali arranges direct payment of consultation fees there to relieve pressure on the mine’s clinic. Management of the co-operative clinic recently reinvested much of its income back into the clinic, and in 2017 is due to open a proud new 100-bed hospital on the same site, at a cost of $209 000. The hospital includes maternity care facilities and intensive care facilities, including monitoring equipment and respirators.
Dr Atanzi explains, “We get some support from the government for public health issues such as leprosy and tuberculosis, but no assistance for the maintenance or development of facilities. Kibali has helped transform healthcare for us. I used to work at a government clinic in Durba and there is no comparison between the facilities there and at our co-operative clinic. Kibali has been a good partner. It provided us with some new facilities and the opportunity to improve healthcare for our community. Now we are working to make sure it is sustainable, because we know the mine won’t always be here and we are preparing already.”