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Assessing the effects of mining projects on child health in sub-Saharan Africa: a multi-country analysis

Cossa, H. and Dietler, D. and Macete, E. and Munguambe, K. and Winkler, M. S. and Fink, G.. (2022) Assessing the effects of mining projects on child health in sub-Saharan Africa: a multi-country analysis. GLOBAL HEALTH, 18. p. 7.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: The African continent hosts many industrial mining projects, and many more are planned due to recent prospecting discoveries and increasing demand for various minerals to promote a low-carbon future. The extraction of natural resources in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) represents an opportunity for economic development but also poses a threat to population health through rapid urbanisation and environmental degradation. Children could benefit from improved economic growth through various channels such as access to high-quality food, better sanitation, and clean water. However, mining can increase food insecurity and trigger local competition over safe drinking water. Child health can be threatened by exposure to mining-related air, noise, and water pollution. To assess the impact of mines on child health, we analyse socio-demographic, health, and mining data before and after several mining projects were commissioned in SSA. RESULTS: Data of 90,951 children living around 81 mining sites in 23 countries in SSA were analysed for child mortality indicators, and 79,962 children from 59 mining areas in 18 SSA countries were analysed for diarrhoea, cough, and anthropometric indicators. No effects of the launch of new mining projects on overall under-five mortality were found (adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR): 0.88; 95% Confidence Interval (CI): 0.68-1.14). However, activation of mining projects reduced the mortality risk among neonates (0-30 days) by 45% (aOR: 0.55; 95% CI: 0.37-0.83) and risk for a child to develop diarrhoeal diseases by 32% (aOR: 0.68; 95% CI: 0,51-0.90). The timing analysis of observed changes showed that there is a significant decline in the risk for childhood diarrhoea (aOR: 0.69; 95% CI: 0.49-0.97), and the mean height-for-age z-scores by 28 percentage points, during the prospection and construction phase; i.e., within four years to the initiation of extraction activity. No effects were found for cough and weight-for-height. CONCLUSION: The results presented suggest that the impacts of mining on child health vary throughout the mine's life cycle. Mining development likely contributes positively to the income and livelihoods of the impacted communities in the initial years of mining operations, particularly the prospection and construction phase; these potential benefits are likely to be at least partially offset by food insecurity and environmental pollution during early and later mining stages, respectively. Further research is warranted to better understand these health impacts and to identify policies that can help sustain the positive initial health impacts of mining projects in the long term.
Faculties and Departments:09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Urban Public Health > Health Impact Assessment (Winkler)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH) > Household Economics and Health Systems Research > Epidemiology and Household Economics (Fink)
06 Faculty of Business and Economics > Departement Wirtschaftswissenschaften > Professuren Wirtschaftswissenschaften > Epidemiology and Household Economics (Fink)
UniBasel Contributors:Cossa, Herminio Fernando Humberto and Dietler, Dominik and Winkler, Mirko and Fink, G√ľnther
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
ISSN:1367-353X
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
Language:English
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Last Modified:21 Dec 2022 17:45
Deposited On:21 Dec 2022 17:45

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