HEALTH IMPACTS

Private sector activities often represent both risks and opportunities for community health and safety. Companies typically bring access to improved medical supplies and counseling to rural communities. But in addition, many projects can attract ills such as drugs, prostitution and HIV/AIDs. Some companies invest heavily in awareness raising and procedures to limit occupation risk while also conducting campaigns to reduce secondary risks such as transport accidents and poor sanitation. Adding to this complex landscape is the typical population explosion that rural communities endure during certain projects. Such influxes exacerbate social dilemmas. Ironically, socially conscious companies that bring new hospitals to isolated regions in an effort to be good neighbors may find that they have further induced the immigration of outsiders by offering rare services and then the whole community bears the consequences. Company contributions to national and local revenue may be used by governments to improve the quality and reach of health services.