Title: Understanding health risks in small-scale gold mining communities of Ghana: analytic approaches to inform policy
Authors and Affiliations: Wilson, Mark1
1Department of Epidemiology; Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
Abstract: Most research on small-scale gold mining has involved descriptive reports of isolated component issues such as micro-economic drivers, or land tenure policies, or environmental impacts, or human health effects. Rarely, however, have analyses attempted to evaluate how these components interact through more complex pathways that consider feedback among diverse parts of this larger system. Investigations of such dynamic interactions are methodologically challenging and often lack adequate data to quantify relationships. This study summarizes various components of the changing small-scale gold mining situation in Ghana, and proposes specific analytic approaches such as "integrated assessment" and "systems analysis" as approaches to better understanding how these complex interactions affect human health. The ways in which these new insights might affect governmental policies and regulations that address various domains are discussed. Implications for future research directions are also explored.