The AEMI Health and Protective Gears Programme (PGH) is aimed at improving the health of artisanal miners through among others providing them with the necessary protective gears required to carry out their work. Ensuring healthy lives is the third Goal of the SDGs. With respect to artisanal mining, there are various health challenges including among others child deaths, maternal deaths, and epidemic diseases such as AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. Additionally, through HPG, AEMI aims to contribute to the achievement of Goal 8 of the SDGs which emphasises the need to promote economic development and decent work for all.
In this regard, one of the targets to be met by 2030, besides productive decent work for all, is the formalisation of micro-small and medium-sized enterprises. It is against this background that AEMI provides protective gears such as boots, gloves, and other personal protective equipment in an endeavour to promote decent work for artisanal miners .
The field work studies conducted by AEMI reveal that lack of advanced technology (which is also limited due to lack of access to modern energy) has forced many artisanal miners to work in life threatening conditions; and these conditions will make it hard for the full achievement of Goal 3 and 8 of the SDGs. For instance, AEMI fieldwork study conducted in the salt mining sector in Uganda revealed salt miners don’t have a decent working environment and as such they work in life threatening conditions such as being exposed to the ammonium gas which escapes from the salt water thus irritating their private parts.
In artisanal gold mining (AGMI), miners are exposed to mercury which not only has a negative impact on their health but also the environment. Actually, it is estimated that 1400 tons of mercury is released into the environment from AGM. There are also various health and environmental issues in other mining activities including sand mining, stone quarrying and many others.
In an endeavour to address these challenges, AEMI collaborates with various stakeholders including local communities; companies; NGOs and governments to find practical solutions to the health challenges faced by miners.