A golden opportunity to fight disease

Responding effectively to the HIV/Aids and tuberculosis epidemics is a challenge for companies such as gold producer AngloGold Ashanti for business and moral reasons.

The burden of both diseases in the local mining industry is high. Similarly, the high incidence of malaria in the company’s Africa operations calls for effective interventions.

In order to mitigate and manage the health risks faced, AngloGold implemented healthcare programmes through its subsidiary, AngloGold Ashanti Health.

Says Dr Brian Chicksen, head of health services for AngloGold Ashanti: ‘We have a series of values and business principles that we aspire to live up to. One of these is that we be responsive to the healthcare threats we face in the regions in which we have a presence.

‘In South Africa, HIV/Aids is a clear threat that has an impact on us as a business and on the communities in which we operate. Communities ought to be better off for us having been there.”

The impressive progress made in curbing the spread of dreaded diseases is borne out by statistics.

‘Our 2006 data shows the CD4 count at the start of treatment was 166. But over two years we have increased the mean CD4 count of people on the programme to 373.”

The company is also looking at halving the death rate of its employees over a four-year period, which began in 2004.

‘With regards to TB control, we pledged to meet or beat the World Health Organisation and national TB control programme outcomes and we have consistently done that.”

Malaria statistics are also encouraging. In Obuasi, Ghana, there were 7 000 malaria cases a month in 2005. The control programme was implemented in April last year and, by December, this figure was reduced to 2 500.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

David Jackson
Guest Author

Two dead in new ANC KwaZulu-Natal killings

A Mtubatuba councillor and a Hammarsdale ANC Youth League leader were shot yesterday near their homes

Inside Facebook’s big bet on Africa

New undersea cables will massively increase bandwidth to the continent

No back to school for teachers just yet

Last week the basic education minister was adamant that teachers will return to school on May 25, but some provinces say not all Covid-19 measures are in place to prevent its spread

Engineering slips out of gear at varsity

Walter Sisulu University wants to reprioritise R178-million that it stands to give back to treasury after failing to spend it

Press Releases

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

Call for applications for the position of GCRO executive director

The Gauteng City-Region Observatory is seeking to appoint a high-calibre researcher and manager to be the executive director and to lead it

DriveRisk stays safe with high-tech thermal camera solution

Itec Evolve installed the screening device within a few days to help the driver behaviour company become compliant with health and safety regulations