The released report on how the government and mine companies fail to protect the rights to health of Miners and Ex-miners in the country has found out that the latter suffer from preventable injuries due to host of working in the environment.
“These include insufficient health and safety measures, inadequate training and equipment, coerced labor under excessively dangerous conditions. As a result, health outcomes among miners, ex-miners and their communities are worse than the general population in Botswana, especially for injuries, respiratory illnesses, such as tuberculosis, silicosis as well as chronic illness,” says the report conducted by Botswana Labour Migrants Association (BoLAMA) in collaboration with Center for Economic and Social Rights as well as Northwestern Pritzker School of Law Center for International Human Rights.
Miners in Botswana undertake dangerous work, often living in poor conditions, at great risk to their health with incommensurate financial returns. In doing so, they experience significantd eprivations of their right to health. Miners are especially vulnerable to occupational injury and disease, including bone fractures, repetitive strain injuries, loss of hearing and sight, spinal cordinjuries, lung diseases, such as tuberculosis, and other communicable diseases, including HIV.
For example, while the national tuberculosis prevalence in Botswana in 2013 was 383 people with tuberculosis per 100,000 people, during the same year 741 per 100,000 people had tuberculosis at the BCL mine hospital in Selebi-Phikwe
Mine Companies Interfere with Miners’ Health Care, Lowering the Quality of Their Care and Harming Their Health – report
Mine companies interfere in miners’ health care creating a culture of compromised ethics at mine hospitals. Corporate interference significantly reduces the quality of health care miners receive in mine hospitals and leads to poor health among miners and ex-miners.
Mine companies’ interference in miners’ health care also violates ethical standards requiring physicians to “do no harm” and to make health care decisions based solely on the health and wellbeing of their patients.53
Mine companies’ interference in miners’ health care represents a failure of mine companies to respect the human rights of their workers in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It further represents a failure of the Government of Botswana
to protect and fulfil the Right to Health with appropriate legislative, regulatory and enforcement actions to eliminate corporate interference in miners’ health care.