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May 102017

For your information Francesca Viliani (Centre on Global Health Security, Chatham House), International SOS and others have recently submitted a paper (Click link) for publication, describing the IDRAM Initiative which AAMEG has been involved in since 2012.

The Infectious Disease Risk Assessment and Management (“IDRAM”) Initiative was set up by Chatham House and the Centre for Global Health Security (London) in 2012 to increase awareness of Emerging Infectious Disease (“EID”) in the extractives industry, particularly zoonotic diseases emanating from animal habitat disturbance as a result of mining activities. The initiative was also aimed at facilitating the extractives industry contribution to national preparedness and response capabilities. The value of this kind of work was subsequently emphasised with outbreak of Ebola in West Africa in late 2013-14.

The Pilot Phase of the IDRAM Initiative, which was run in Katanga (DRC) in 2014, was developed as a “proof of concept” to explore the feasibility of establishing collaborations among multiple stakeholders to manage EID risks.

The partners involved in the Pilot Phase included:

  • Chatham House & the Centre for Global Health Security (London), (who convened the first meeting, engaged partners and led the initiative),
  • International SOS (who managed the project and provided technical assistance),
  • AAMEG (who assisted in the coordination of member mining companies), and
  • FHI 360 and Ecology and Environment (who provided subject matter and technical expertise),
  • USAID via their Emerging Pandemic Threat (“EPT”) Program (the principal funding agency), and
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (technical expertise).

The mining companies with operations in Katanga that participated included:

  • Freeport McMoran (Tenke Fungurume Mine),
  • Tiger Resources (Kipoi Mine),
  • MMG (Kinsevere Mine), and
  • Mawson West (Dikulushi and Pweto Mine).

The local authorities and other organisations in Katanga that participated included the provincial government and health authorities, provincial and regional academia and professional bodies from Lubumbashi University and others.

The results of this work confirmed that the private sector, particularly the mining sector, can be an important partner in EID prevention, preparedness, and response. The main rationale for collaborations amongst multiple stakeholders is based on the high economic cost associated with uncontrolled epidemics.

In addition, desktop exercises were conducted twice in:

  • Lubumbashi (DRC) for 28 participants in August 2014, and
  • Africa Down Under Conference for 39 participants in September 2014.

Participants in the activities of the IDRAM Initiative gained a better understanding of the socio-ecological impacts of mining projects, how these can influence disease emergence and transmission that result from animal habitat disturbance, and how collaborative efforts can lead to a more effective mitigation of the associated health risks.

AAMEG have been involved in this project from the onset and it is an excellent example of how partnerships can be formed to create benefits for all.