16 October 2018
New UN Declaration on Protecting Workers Against TuberculosisDear Colleagues,
We would like to inform you about our success achieving inclusion of highly vulnerable workers and commitment on the use of occupational preventive measures into the UN Declaration on Tuberculosis. Our story is at http://www.icohweb.org/site/news-detail.asp?id=154#. ICOH and IOHA participated in the September 26, 2018 United Nations General Assembly Meeting on Tuberculosis (TB) in New York City and in the previous preparatory meetings. There the World Leaders endorsed the UN Political Declaration on TB "United to End Tuberculosis: An Urgent Global Response to a Global Epidemic".
We are happy to confirm that thanks to an intense year of effort by ICOH, IOHA, many of you, and other partners, our suggested language related to workers is successfully included in this endorsed Declaration. Click on the link just above to see Paragraph 17, which identifies "health care workers, miners and others exposed to silica" as high-risk vulnerable groups. Also see Paragraph 31, which says: "Commit to... implementing primary prevention in high-risk occupations by reducing silica dust exposures in mining, construction and other dusty workplaces, and worker tuberculosis surveillance and infection prevention and control in healthcare settings".
Marilyn Fingerhut (NIOSH), Perry Gottesfeld (Occupational Knowledge International), Sophie Kisting (NIOSH South Africa), and Gwen Brachman (ICOH) represented ICOH at the TB Meeting. Andrea Hiddinga, immediate past President International Occupational Hygiene Association, represented IOHA. Roberto Lucchini (Collegium Ramazzini) took part at the preparatory UN meetings.
Our next steps will include development of workplans to facilitate assistance to countries and organizations to implement workplace practices to reduce silica in workplaces and to protect health workers. These efforts will take place via the ICOH SC MinOSH TB-Silica Subcommittee, co-chaired by Marilyn and Perry, and via the SC OH Health Workers TB-Health Worker Subcommittee, co-chaired by Gwen and Sophie. We will be reaching out to ICOH SCs and members, IOHA, the (currently 65) organizations which endorsed the ICOH TB Statements, and to all of you. The Statements and endorsers are located at http://www.icohweb.org/site/ICOH-TB-Statements.asp. If your organization has not endorsed one or both TB Statements, please consider inviting endorsement. Instructions are at that website.
If you would like to join the TB-Silica Subcommittee, please contact Marilyn at email@example.com. To join the HW-TB Subcommittee, please contact Gwen Brachman at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have suggestions regarding how we could move forward, please also send them to Marilyn and/or Gwen.
Roberto Lucchini on behalf of Marilyn, Perry, Gwen and Sophie