The Iduapriem mine in Ghana is one of the smallest in the group, with an employee complement of just 710 people. The mine is located in the western region of Ghana, some 70 kilometres north of the coastal city of Takoradi, and 10 kilometres south west of Tarkwa. The mine's on-site clinic - named the Sam Jonah Clinic - was upgraded in 2004 to a model medical facility.
The clinic provides 24-hour primary health care and occupational health services for employees as well as their registered dependants, while contractors are treated for work-related conditions. The clinic services about 7,000 people in total.
The clinic is staffed by one medical officer, two registered nurses (one of whom is qualified in occupational health), and two enrolled nurses. The clinic has adopted the AHS model where the registered nurses screen patients prior to consultation with the medical officer.
Between 30 and 50 out-patient consultations are processed daily. Current occupancy of the 12-bed in-patient section (for general medical and minor surgical conditions) is low, and the acuity levels of the cases admitted to the wards is also low. The well-stocked pharmacy fills approximately
30 prescriptions a day, and there is a fully equipped medical laboratory on site.
No obstetrical service is currently available at the clinic, but a feasibility study is underway to determine whether this service will be cost-effective. A theatre for minor procedures will be commissioned in February 2005, while radiology investigations are performed at the local Tarkwa hospital. An ambulance is available for emergency response.
In the occupational health section, pre-employment, routine and exit medical examinations are performed, as well as medical surveillance, informed by occupational hygiene data. Audiometric assessment, lung function testing and electro-cardiometry are performed. A code of practice is in place to deal with possible cyanide exposure.
Says Dr. Piet van Wyk, health service manager, AHS, responsible for facilities in Africa, "The clinic provides a high quality of health service and can serve as a model for similar ventures in East and West Africa.
"The major health care challenge at the mine remains malaria - this is the single most significant driver of health service costs and medical absenteeism at Iduapriem, not to mention the local community. AngloGold Ashanti is reviewing a potential integrated approach to malaria control in the area in conjunction with other mining companies, and the experiences being gained at Obuasi will be an important contributor to this." (See case study:
Scientific approach to malaria at Obuasi
in the HIV/AIDS and Malaria section of this report.)