19 April 2017, Johannesburg, South Africa – A joint delegation of experts on health, mining and labour from Zambia is visiting South Africa on a four day Technical Exchange mission on Occupational Health and Safety, and Mine Health Regulation under the Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support (SATBHSS) project. The team of experts paid a courtesy call on the NEPAD Agency at its Head Office in Johannesburg on 18 April 2017 to kick-start their Technical Exchange.
Speaking on behalf of the delegation, Dr Connard Mwansa, Director of Occupational Health and Safety Institute, explained that the Technical Exchange will build the capacity of the Zambian team to better deal with issues of Occupational Health and Safety and Mine Health Regulation related to TB. He explained that South Africa was selected for the exchange because it has a long history with TB in the mines from as early as the 1800’s and has a lot of experience that can benefit Zambia.
“Although South Africa has its own challenges on controlling TB in the mines, they still remain more technically advanced than most countries in Southern Africa”, Dr Mwansa explained.
Representing NEPAD Agency, Prof. Diran Makinde welcome the Zambian team and gave an overview of the work and structure of the organization in Africa. The Zambian team is expected to exchange knowledge with their South African counterparts in several key areas which include; (i) Setting up of a One-Stop Service Centre; (ii) Occupational Health and Safety Services, and Mine Health Regulation (ii) how South Africa handles the compensation package (ii) how to deal with Multi-Drug Resistant TB (MDR-TB), among others.
One of the key areas concerning the Zambian team is to learn how South Africa is dealing with the increased burden of relapse of TB in the mines. NEPAD Agency Principle Programme Officer, Policy Specialist, Chimwemwe Chamdimba welcomed the idea of Technical Exchange between countries in the region and beyond.
She said that it is interesting to note that Zambia is looking up to South Africa for Technical Exchange while at the same time other countries in the region are also look up to Zambia for Technical Exchange. This shows that countries can learn from one another and tap each other’s experience and knowledge to improve their own systems and processes at national level to deal with TB.
The Zambian delegation will visit many government departments and health facilities during their visit and hold numerous meetings with the South African counterparts.