JOHANNESBURG – Mineworkers in the manganese-rich town of Kuruman, in the Northern Cape, are set to benefit from integrated healthcare and social services after government partnered with the mining industry and workers associations to launch a centre on Tuesday.
The One Stop Health Service Centre is aimed at providing integrated services to both active and ex-mineworkers where TB and occupational lung disease assessments as well as administrative services for compensation will be delivered.
The Kuruman One Stop Health Service centre was opened by mineral resources deputy minister Godfrey Oliphant on Tuesday, on behalf of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
It is a collaboration by various stakeholders led by government and supported by captains of the mining industry, organised labour and current and ex-mineworker associations with the aim to de-centralise services to claimants and beneficiaries.
The centre is part of the Department of Health’s ongoing service roll-out campaign to current and ex-mineworkers following the Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi’s national launch of the Ku-Riha project in Carletonville, Gauteng province in 2015.
One-Stop Centres are located in mining or labour-sending areas, and are designed to provide medical support to ex-mine workers, who often cease receiving treatment for various reasons when they leave employment.
They offer medical examinations, rehabilitation assessments, health promotion and counselling to all patients, as well as referrals to other medical specialists if necessary. These services mean that patients can be diagnosed, treated and receive the help they need to remain healthy, in one place. In addition, the centres help individuals prepare and submit claims to the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases (MBOD) for compensation.
The service centres enable government to trace eligible previous and current mineworkers who have not claimed their compensation benefits over the last 30 years after they contracted occupational lung disease during the time they were employed at mines.
In addressing more than 4,000 members of the Kuruman community including ex-mineworkers, Oliphant said there was initially about R1.5 billion available for the compensation of 106,000 unpaid beneficiaries.
Since the launch of One Stop Health Service Centres, the number of unpaid beneficiaries increased by 8,320.
Oliphant encouraged ex-mineworkers to visit the service centres as well as the mobile centres in order to check the status of their claims and if they are eligible for compensation.
Chamber of Mines acting chief executive, Nikisi Lesufi said that these institutions clearly demonstrated the value of partnership between the private sector and government.