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Gold Miners Commend ActionAid Uganda Over Safety Campaign

nakimuli_nalukuuma

Nakimuli and Nalukuuma at work, Photo by Josephine Nabaale

Gold miners in Mubende district have commended the safety campaign championed by Action Aid international to promote health and safety standards in the mines.

During a recent visit by Oil in Uganda to the gold mines early this year, several miners in Kitumbi sub county, Mubende District expressed their gratitude to Action Aid International for providing them with safety gears and providing a platform for awareness.

Nakimuli Shamim, one of the beneficiaries explained that she was unaware of the importance of using  safety gear while washing the gold dust.

“Now that I understand how important this safety gear is, I can now wash up to 8 basins of gold dust without worrying about getting sick from exposure to mercury,” she narrated to Oil in Uganda.

“Before, I used to develop itchy skin rashes but my hands are now covered with gloves and I also have gum boots to protect my legs,” she noted.

Nakimuli adds that using the safety gear will eventually see her walk home with a high income since she will be able to work for longer hours.

As for Nalukuuma Juliet who has been in the gold industry for three years, the use of safety gear had never crossed her mind.

She narrates that she would endure the tedious process of washing the gold dust despite the fact that her hands always developed small painful swellings.

“If you are looking for money, you have to endure and keep working even if you have those small swellings. If you do not work you cannot be paid,” she stated.

Nalukuuma further adds that often, it is uncomfortable working under the sun while wearing the safety gear but one has to persevere.

Zziwa

Zziwa grinding dried iron ore wearing his nose mask. Photo by Josephine Nabaale

According to Zziwa Hussein, a grinding machine operator, he is now protected from the dust emitted during the crashing process that has made him suffer from constant chest pains.

I now hope that the chest pains from inhaling too much dust will reduce with this safety gear,” he says.

In August 2016, over 80 miners in Lubaali, Lujjinji B  and Kampala mining sites in Mubende district received safety gears  including gumboots, waterproof overalls, nose masks and helmets  from Action Aid International in a bid to promote health and safety conditions in mines.

Report by Josephine Nabaale