Marathon Oil Corporation (NYSE: MRO) announced today that the Government of Equatorial Guinea, Marathon, Noble Energy (NYSE: NBL), GEPetrol and SONAGAS, have achieved lifesaving results during the second year of the five-year, $12.8 million Bioko Island Malaria Control Project (BIMCP) in Equatorial Guinea. Year two results include a 95 percent reduction in malaria transmitting mosquitoes and a 44 percent reduction in the presence of malaria parasites in children. These results further demonstrate that the BIMCP is steadily eradicating the transmission of a disease that poses the most significant health threat to the citizens of Equatorial Guinea.
Given the substantial success the BIMCP has had in reducing malaria transmissions on Bioko Island, the Government of Equatorial Guinea through its National Malaria Control Program is seeking to extend this malaria control strategy to the mainland of Equatorial Guinea. Marathon was instrumental in supporting a successful Equatorial Guinea application to the Global Fund to secure a multi-year commitment totaling $26 million for this program expansion. The Marathon Oil Company Foundation is providing an additional $1 million grant in support of this expansion. The Marathon Oil Company Foundation and Global Fund resources will permit the replication of the BIMCP intervention strategies on the mainland of Equatorial Guinea, expanding coverage to the entire population of this Central African nation.
"We are very pleased with the continued positive results of our malaria control project and the life saving benefits it is bringing to the more than 250,000 residents of Bioko Island," said Steven B. Hinchman, Marathon senior vice president of Worldwide Production. "Because of Marathon's long-term commitment to the health and welfare of the people of Equatorial Guinea, we are pleased to help expand the implementation of the BIMCP on the mainland with our $1 million contribution that will complement the financial support from the Global Fund."
This grant represents the Marathon Oil Company Foundation's largest ever donation and will be used to help launch field operations and establish related logistical and management systems (including state-of-the art use of information technology that permits unprecedented and highly cost-effective remote technical support), establish vector monitoring sites throughout the country, and conduct a baseline household survey."
Additionally, the BIMCP's results have attracted supplementary donor resources from the U.S. Government through a Center for Disease Control and Presidential Malaria Initiative grant. This funding is being used to strengthen the national health information system - a necessary mechanism for monitoring the incidence of malaria and ultimately, when transmission has been effectively eliminated, for providing an early warning of any potential resurgence in malaria transmission that would necessitate targeted control measures.
Malaria is endemic in Equatorial Guinea, and is the number one killer in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to the BIMCP, malaria accounted for approximately 40 percent of all deaths among children under five years of age and an equivalently high percentage of all illnesses. Even when not fatal, malaria compromised the health and productivity of the population and significantly impacted the financial well-being of families, especially those least able to afford medication.
The country's Ministry of Health and Social Well-being noted that when Marathon acquired production interests in Equatorial Guinea in 2002, Marathon and the ministry quickly identified malaria as the key health issue facing employees and local communities. It became clear that elimination or at least drastic reduction of malaria on Bioko Island would not only reduce the health care and economic burden of this devastating disease and make a significant difference in the lives of Equatoguineans, but would also protect the local workforce.
To help ensure the success of this important initiative, Marathon and its business partners teamed up with the Government of Equatorial Guinea and formed an implementation team comprised of leading health specialists from Medical Care Development International (MCDI), One World Development Group, the Medical Research Council of South Africa and the Harvard School of Public Health. The team, led by MCDI, designed the BIMCP to interrupt, and then drastically reduce the transmission of malaria on Bioko Island. While the main focus is to reduce mortality and morbidity among those at highest risk, especially children under five years of age and pregnant women, the Project's malaria control efforts have benefited the population as a whole. The program employs three main interventions: vector control through indoor residual spraying, improved case management through the introduction of Artemisinin combination therapy, and surveillance and evaluation research. Project implementation began in October 2003.
GEPetrol was established in 2001 as the National Oil Company of Equatorial Guinea. GEPetrol has upstream interests through participation in petroleum contracts with foreign oil companies, including the Alba field, but the LNG project is the company's first venture into the downstream business. GEPetrol operates as a commercial entity alongside the Ministry of Mines, Industry and Energy, which is the State regulatory authority.
Sociedad Nacional de Gas de Guinea Ecuatorial (SONAGAS, G.E) is the state- owned natural gas company responsible for all gas related projects in Equatorial Guinea.
Noble Energy is one of the nation's leading independent energy companies and operates throughout major basins in the United States including Colorado's Wattenberg Field, the Mid-continent region of western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle, the San Juan Basin in New Mexico, the Gulf Coast and the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, Noble Energy operates internationally in Argentina, China, Ecuador, the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea, West Africa and Suriname. Noble Energy markets natural gas and crude oil through its subsidiary, Noble Energy Marketing, Inc. Visit Noble Energy online at http://www.nobleenergyinc.com .
Marathon Oil Corporation is an integrated international energy company, with expertise in exploration and production; integrated gas; and refining, marketing and transportation. Headquartered in Houston, Marathon is the fourth-largest U.S.-based fully integrated energy company. In Equatorial Guinea, Marathon operates a world-class gas processing complex on Bioko Island. This complex includes an expanded condensate and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) business complemented by one of the most efficient methanol plants in the world. The company also is leading the construction of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant, also on Bioko Island.
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