Many of our operations are located within or near local communities. We take extra care to manage activities that can potentially affect community health and where possible, we seek opportunities to have a positive impact. These range from mitigating impacts such as dust and noise, to helping reduce the occurrence of communicable diseases and to providing local health and wellbeing initiatives such as breast cancer screening and awareness.

Iluka also recognises that there is a risk of local community health issues impacting on our workforce that travel internationally to Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, China, India and other countries. We ensure that these employees are educated on the areas they are travelling to and have the appropriate health information and protection available.

In Sierra Leone, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are regarded as a serious contributor to the burden of disease in the Sierra Rutile mine area districts. Sierra Rutile has partnership agreements with the Sierra Leonean National HIV/AIDS Control Programme, the National AIDS Secretariat and has a staff member placed in the Sierra Rutile clinic to support HIV control interventions in the workplace and broader community. Free contraceptive vending machines have been placed in common areas for Sierra Rutile employees and at the Sierra Rutile clinic for access by the community.

Malaria and typhoid also remain a significant threat in the region, however good progress has been made in reducing the frequency of these diseases. From January 2018 to December 2019 there was an observable reduction in employee (non-work related) cases of typhoid and malaria. In addition to this positive decrease we are learning more about these communicable diseases and the effectiveness of control interventions. It is apparent that timing of interventions, particularly regarding typhoid inoculations, can have a significant impact on effectiveness. Initiatives which contributed to the reduction in cases included: typhoid vaccinations for employees and their dependents; clinical testing; provision of community education; supply of insecticide treated nets to community members; improvements in water quality management; and investment in better equipping the Sierra Rutile clinic.

To improve health and wellbeing awareness, Sierra Rutile clinic staff regularly schedule face-to-face talks in the communities surrounding our operations to cover various topics relevant to each community. Additionally, the Sierra Rutile Chief Medical Officer and Clinic Matron participate in a fortnightly radio talkback programme where they respond to health related questions from callers.


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