International SOS supports infectious diseases initiative in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Work has begun on the ‘IDRAM Initiative’ in the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo, led by the Centre for Global Health Security at Chatham House in London, managed by International SOS and funded by USAID.
The initiative is an emerging infectious diseases project focused on the resources industry.
In November 2012, the Australia-Africa Mining Industry Group (AAMIG) attended a meeting at Chatham House in London on emerging infectious diseases in tropical hotspots around the world, referred to as the IDRAM Initiative (Extractive Industry Infectious Disease Risk Assessment Management).
The mining companies in Katanga involved in the project include Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (Tenke Fungurume Mine) and AAMIG members Tiger Resources (Kipoi Mine), MMG (Kinsevere Mine) and Mawson West (Dikulushi Mine).
International SOS is coordinating the field work and providing liaison between the mining companies, the provincial health authorities, the University of Lubumbashi and the medical team.
The IDRAM Initiative is part of the USAID Emerging Pandemic Threats Programme, which aims to pre-empt or combat at their source, emerging infectious diseases of animal origin, that pose a threat to human health.
As approximately 75% of new human infectious diseases are believed to have emerged from animal reservoirs, they present a risk to resource companies as they and their surrounding communities push further and further into animal habitats.
USAID has funded extensive research on these issues over the past five years. Its partners, Ecology & Environment and FHI 360 have developed a toolkit that resource companies can use to examine vulnerabilities to zoonotic disease and consider mitigation measures to reduce the vulnerability.
AAMIG proposed field testing the toolkits in Katanga Province, DRC with well-established mining companies. This region of the world is home to emerging infectious diseases and outbreaks. As AAMIG’s mission is to provide advice and support to the Australian extractives sector companies operating in Africa, its members have enthusiastically supported IDRAM.
The IDRAM Initiative will be a first for this kind of collaborative work with the extractive industry and AAMIG is pleased that this work will be initiated in the Katanga Province in collaboration with, and supported by a number of our member companies, the Governor of Katanga and the Provincial health authorities and Lubumbashi University. Results from this initiative may be applied in other tropical regions of the world.
The roll-out of the toolkit field testing scheduled for June of this year is also timely, given the recent outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, and underlines how relevant this work is to the extractive industry and its host communities.
The successful delivery of the IDRAM Initiative will enable companies to develop appropriate mitigation strategies with respect to emerging infectious diseases and disease outbreaks. It will also enable directors and officers of resource companies to better deliver on their duty of care responsibilities to their employees, as well as to the citizens of the regions in which they operate.
Notes to Editors
About International SOS
International SOS is the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company. We care for clients across the globe, from more than 1000 locations in 90 countries.
Our expertise is unique: More than 11,000 employees are led by 1,400 doctors and 200 security specialists. Teams work night and day to protect our members.
We pioneer a range of preventive programmes strengthened by our in-country expertise. We deliver unrivalled emergency assistance during critical illness, accident or civil unrest.
We are passionate about helping clients put Duty of Care into practice. With us, multinational corporate clients, governments and NGOs can mitigate risks for their people working remotely or overseas.
Chatham House ( http://www.chathamhouse.org/ ) is home to the Royal Institute of International
Affairs, a world-leading source of independent analysis, informed debate and influential ideas. It was
founded in 1920 and is based in St James’ Square, London. The Chatham House Rule, famous around
the world for facilitating free speech and confidentiality at meetings, originated there. The Chatham
House Centre on Global Health Security webpage can be found at:
USAID ( http://www.usaid.gov/ ) is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global
poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. USAID has been the
primary funder of the IDRAM Initiative from its beginning in 2012.
FHI 360 ( http://www.fhi360.org/ ) is a non-profit human development organization dedicated to
improving lives in lasting ways. Its work is grounded in research and science, strengthened by
partnerships and focuses on building the capacity of individuals, communities and countries to
succeed. FHI 360 has co-developed the risk assessment toolkits that have underpinned the IDRAM
Ecology & Environment ( http://www.ene.com/ ) is a global network of professionals and industry
leaders in 85 engineering and scientific disciplines working together to develop and deliver solutions
that promote environmental sustainability.
Founded in May 2011, the Australia-Africa Mining Industry Group (“AAMIG”) represents Australian
and Australian-based exploration, mining, service and supply companies active in Africa.
AAMIG aims to support member companies and enhance their Social Licence to Operate, with a key
focus on stakeholder engagement, sustainable community development, human rights and
governance. AAMIG is committed to supporting a “Team Australia” approach in regard to Australia’s engagement
with Africa, which includes building meaningful relationships between the mining industry and
governments, not-for-profits and academia.