The Group seeks to provide a healthy working environment for its workforce and the Group continues to focus on identifying, minimising and managing key occupational health risks to control occupational exposures.
The Sierra Rutile Clinic is now equipped to handle a wider range of health tests and treatments and the main types of occupational illnesses recorded relate to malaria and typhoid.
In 2015, the number of malaria and typhoid cases increased by 45% and 24% respectively. This was mainly due to the extended rainy season experienced in Sierra Leone.
The Group also embraces and promotes the fundamentals of fitness for work and to this end the Group has a number of initiatives and tool box talks that enhances health awareness among the workforce. The Group also collaborates with specialist physicians to provide routine screening of diseases to its workforce.
On 7 November 2015 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared Sierra Leone Ebola-free. The Ebola-free announcement was an important milestone in the fight against the deadly disease. Sierra Rutile is proud to have achieved zero cases in its operational areas during the period. The Group supported Government and community efforts through awareness raising and providing logistics, including donating a total of $0.1 million to the local Bonthe and Moyamba District Councils, the Government of Sierra Leone’s Ebola Orphan Fund and to the Government of Sierra Leone. The Group continues to maintain certain precautionary measures at its operations to minimise the risks to its employees, contractors and visitors.
The Sierra Rutile Clinic treated approximately 1,700 people a month in 2015, the majority of whom are employees and employee’s families. The clinic also ran additional weekly clinics in local communities to provide basic and emergency public healthcare. During the year the clinic treated over 6,990 employees and members of the local communities for malaria and typhoid.
Sierra Rutile continued its successful partnership with NGOs, the Mine Workers Union and the National AIDS Secretariat of Sierra Leone to address the prevention of HIV/AIDS.