GITEGA April 27th (ABP) – The Ministry of Public Service, Labor and Employment, in collaboration with the World Health Organization in Burundi, has organized since Tuesday in Gitega a 4-day workshop at the place of the various stakeholders as part of the official launch of the process of developing the national policy on health and safety in the workplace in Burundi.
In his speech, the Health System Strengthening Officer for Universal Health Coverage at WHO, Dr. Yao Théodore said that according to recent estimates published by the International Labor Organization (ILO), 2.78 million workers lose their lives due to accidents at work and occupational diseases every year. According to him, 2.4 million of those deaths are attributable to occupational diseases alone, while 373 million victims of work accidents and non-fatal occupational diseases. He also said that this situation is alarming especially in developing countries where part of the people carries out dangerous activities such as agriculture, fishing, construction and mining.
Dr. Yao pointed out that the number of workers who lose their lives due to accidents at work and occupational diseases continue to increase while in 2007 the International Labor Organization recorded 2 million workers, of whom 85% were due occupational diseases including musculoskeletal, broncho-pulmonary, cancer, cardiovascular, depression, … as indicated by Dr. Ciza Alphonse in his presentation in relation to the global action plan for workers’ health.
According to Dr. Yao, it is imperative to deal with that situation on a global and national scale by developing effective prevention strategies. Dr Yao underlined that the prevention of occupational risks and the development of health and safety at work cannot be done without strengthening surveillance with the development of a database to better support occupational health policies and national action plans, define the minimum services to be provided in each country for the primary prevention of health and safety at work but also in the reinforcement of skills through training and the exchange of information on risk factors.
The person in charge of strengthening the health system for universal health coverage at the WHO commended the efforts that the government of Burundi has already undertaken to provide workers and civil servants with working conditions favorable to their development, hence a boost hand of the latter in the process of developing the national health and safety at work policy in Burundi aimed at offering all Burundians a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being necessary for their development and their contribution to the development of the country.
The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Public Service, Labor and Employment explained that in 2020, Burundi was chosen in Africa to set up a country program for care work for a period of 4 years ranging from 2020 to 2023. He indicated that this program recommended that Burundi establish a national policy on health and safety in the workplace, because according to her, it has often been observed that in the workplace, workers especially civil servants are not covered for health care in the event of an accident at work. We do not care about the working conditions in which civil servants work.
According to the permanent secretary at the ministry in charge of the public service, these stakeholders have come together to put in place a national policy on health and safety at work so that the worker and especially the employers take this policy into account by taking support workers in the event of an accident at work and that they can improve their performance at work.