Mine Medical Professionals Association
The Mine Medical Professionals Association (MMPA), in conjunction with the Mine Health and Safety Council (MMPA), held its 21st Annual congress at the Sun City Resort. The event was held over two days on the 26th to the 27th of October 2018 under the theme, “4th Industrial Revolution- are we ready”? The theme was meant to prompt health personnel to start the discussions on the need to get ahead of the game and use all technology possible to be proactive in the prevention of diseases and injuries , and more specifically in the mining sector.
The Congress was attended by participants from different disciplines as they ranged from occupational medical practitioners (OMPs), occupational health practitioners (OHPs), occupational therapists, medical practitioners in mining; researchers, subject-matter experts in mental health, and occupational hygiene experts; to the Masoyise iTB Team, health economists and actuarial scientists as experts on National Health Insurance, and the Mine Health and Safety Council research team.
Of note at the Congress was the session which covered, in detail, the problem of mental health and the vulnerability of doctors to stress and depression. The discussion on National Health Insurance also served to the delegates how universal health coverage will work in the South African context. It became very clear that a South African solution has to be developed, taking the current systems and legacy issues into account.
In promoting the work done by the MHSC and through the Centre of Excellence, printed material relevant to the delegates were issued as well presented on by the MHSC and the researchers who undertook the projects. The projects presented on were the following:
a) Develop Methodologies for the Measurement of Diesel Exhaust Emissions (DEE) and Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM);
b) A Situational Analysis for Occupational Health Practitioners with Specific Reference to Section 12(1) and Section 13(3)(A)(I) of the MHSA on the applicable ratio to service the mines in order to make a meaningful impact to the improvement of occupational health in SAMI;
c) The Reproducibility of Digital X-Ray and Analog X-Ray readings for Medical Surveillance in the South African Mining Industry to determine the reproducibility of digital and analog chest radiography for detection of silicosis and silicosis plus Pulmonary Tuberculosis.
In conclusion, the delegates agreed that something has to be done with regards to the current approach to health provision in the sector, as the concern is that occupational health and mental health are not prioritized in the current health framework.