Malaria Control programme beats target

Gabriel Amoah | 11 Aug 2008
The Statesman
The Integrated Malaria Control Programme embarked upon by the Anglo Gold Ashanti in 2005 which sought to reduce the incidence of malaria within its catchment area has already started yielding positive results, the manager of the Malaria Control Programme of Anglo Gold Ashanti, Samuel O Danso has announced.

This is evidenced by the fact that the programme's objective to halve malaria cases within two years, through the adoption of a multi-pronged approach has been achieved in six months.

A monthly average of 12,000 reported cases at the two major hospitals in the municipality, has dropped to 3,120, a 74 percent decrease, and within the Anglo Gold Ashanti mine community, there is a drop from 238 cases per 1,000 employees to 29 cases.

Addressing the media, Mr Danso said that the company was able to save over $30,000 a month on malaria medication by cutting down the monthly expenditure of $55,000 on malaria treatment to $12,000.

He attributed the success story to the community's acceptance of the programme and the diligence of the corps of well trained, motivated and disciplined spray men and added that the mine also succeeded in reducing the man hours lost to malaria from 6,983 in 2005 to 304 in 2008.

The programme, he explained, adopted measures like indoor residual spraying to control the vector (the female anopheles mosquito) and distribution of insecticide mosquito nets to orphanages, maternity homes and the children's wards of the two main hospitals.

The indoor residual spraying involves the spraying of every item on every inch of space, including interior walls, ceiling and underside of furniture at homes, offices, churches, schools and village huts.

"We have covered the entire municipality about five times already (two rounds a year) and in every round, we covered every room within a 110-mile radius of Obuasi," he emphasised.

He said in the first year of the programme, the mine spent $1.7 million and thereafter $1.4 million a year adding that the success story of Obuasi earned the company an award at the Global Business Coalition Award in the United States in 2007.

Mr Danso said, "Already, other mining companies in Ghana are approaching us to replicate the programme in their mining areas. Newmont, for instance, has brought 19 of its employees here to be trained."

"At the national level, the President's Special Malaria Initiative in the North, is using the Obuasi programme as a case study" he added.

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