Cette recherche met en évidence les déterminants sociaux impactant la santé des participants inclus dans l’enquête ORPAL 3

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Résumé : 

Introduction: Social determinants of health, such as living and working conditions, economical and environmental context and access to care, combine to impact the health of individuals and communities. In French Guiana (FG), the persons working in informal artisanal and small-scale gold mining in the rainforest are a particularly vulnerable population which lives in precarious conditions and far from the health system. Previous studies have demonstrated their high morbidity due to infectious diseases. This study aims to describe the social determinants of health in this specific population.

Methods: This international multicentre cross-sectional survey included people working on the informal FG gold mines at the crossing points located at both borders with Suriname and Brazil. After collecting written informed consent, a structured questionnaire was administered.

Results: From September to December 2022, 539 gold miners were included. These poorly educated migrants, mainly from Brazil (99.1%) did not have access to drinkable water (95.4%), lived in close contact with wild fauna by hunting, eating bushmeat or being bitten and were exposed to mercury by inhalation (58.8%) or ingestion (80.5%). They report frequent accidents (13.5%) and chronic treatment interruptions (26.6% of the 11.9% reporting chronic treatment). Half of them considered themselves in good health (56.4%).

Conclusion: This study shows a singular combination of adverse exposures of gold miners working in FG such as zoonoses, heavy metal poisoning, aggression of wild fauna. For ethical as well as public health reasons, actions towards health equity must be considered at different levels: individual, community, environmental, systemic and global level. As end users of minerals, we must assume our responsibilities for the well-being of the extractors by including health in political decisions to engage together in global health.