Diseases and development of health services at Roan antelope mine in Luanshya district of Zambia, 1928-1964

Thumbnail Image
Mwanza, Robert
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
The University of Zambia
This study examines diseases and development of health services at Roan Antelope Mine which emerged on the swamps of Luanshya River in Luanshya and recorded high rates of morbidity and mortality, especially in its early years 1920s and early 1930s. The analysis shows that in the first two decades of mining, Roan witnessed diseases such as malaria, blackwater fever, pneumonia, typhoid and dysentery because of ecology, poor living and working conditions as well as mining operations. The study demonstrates that by the end of the 1930s, the disease landscape at Roan Antelope Mine had changed drastically with the emergence of industrial diseases such as silicosis and tuberculosis stimulated by phenomenal expansion in copper production during the Second World War. In the Federal era between 1953 and 1963, diseases of poverty such as smallpox, bilharzia, tuberculosis and Asiatic influenza became common in the African compounds at Roan Mine due to rapid migration and a rising number of unvaccinated people. The study, therefore, concludes that the development of medical services at Roan Antelope Mine was conditioned by the transformation in disease patterns on the mine. It demonstrates that the ant-malarial campaign of 1929-1932 was the first scientific measure to be taken at Roan to combat ecologically-determined diseases. Having controlled malaria, the RST channelled health measures to controlling diseases of poverty. The study shows that during the Second World War, additional medical services emerged on the mine to combat industrial diseases with emphasis on preventive measures. This study observes that medical services at Roan became so modernised and effective that it was easy to combat infectious diseases like smallpox, bilharzia, typhoid and tuberculosis. The overall conclusion of this study is that by the time of Zambia’s independence in 1964, the Roan Antelope Mine had developed effective medical services capable of treating and preventing diseases among African miners.
Diseases and development--Mines--Zambia , Miners--Medical care--Zambia , Medical services--Miners--Zambia