12,500 ITNs for Workers and Communities to Complement IRS Activities
Responding to the effects of rising malaria cases on workforce productivity, AngloGold Ashanti subsidiary Iduapriem Gold Mine launched its malaria control programme on July 13 with the theme “end malaria for good in our communities.” The launch brought together important personalities from the Ghana mining sector, government representatives, local community and religious leaders.
Iduapriem Gold Mine is investing GHC 238,410 to primarily provide employees, contractors and host communities with 12,500 insecticide treated bednets and insecticide treatment of household interior walls in a process called Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS). The programme will cover 16 host communities within AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Gold Mine operational areas.
Key partners supporting Iduapriem Gold Mine in executing the programme include the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Health Directorate of the Ghana Health Service and the UK Department for International Development-funded Private Sector Malaria Prevention (PSMP) project of Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs. PSMP is designed to catalyze the private sector in malaria prevention in Ghana. The Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Health Directorate supported the programme with an additional 5,000 insecticide-treated nets.
“I am happy to announce that as a mine, we at AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Limited are committed to reversing the trend [of increasing malaria cases] by ensuring our employees and communities are healthy, and to enhance productivity in their various occupations,” said Iduapriem Gold Mine Managing Director Mr. Jasper Musadaidzwa.
Malaria cases amongst Iduapriem Gold Mine employees and contractors increased more than half—from 172 cases in 2015 to 263 confirmed cases in 2016. Alarmingly, the company is already seeing 218 new cases in the first half of 2017, which means that without a malaria prevention intervention the company could expect to have twice as many malaria cases this year.
With an increase in cases, malaria also contributed to a significant increase in worker absenteeism in 2015 and 2016, doubling sickness-related leave days from 63 days to 116 days. According to results from the company’s 2016 baseline survey, malaria constitutes 57.9% of household illnesses in the host communities.
It has been three years since the company rolled out its last malaria prevention campaign. In the past, the company mainly focused its prevention efforts on IRS, with more limited insecticide-treated net distributions.
Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Chamber of Mines Mr. Sulemanu Koney said the initiative will benefit both the company and host communities.
“This is a clear indication of how mining can bring value to the lives of the people in host communities and beyond,” he said. He added that investing in communities and employees leads to greater outcomes.
Deputy Western Region Minister Honorable Gifty E Kusi, who was the former Minister of Parliament for Tarkwa Nsuaem, remarked that “malaria is preventable and curable,” and that national efforts are dramatically reducing the malaria burden. In Sub-Saharan Africa, malaria cases have reduced by nearly half in the past decade.
A major event that prepared the grounds for Iduapriem Gold Mine’s malaria control programme was PSMP’s Malaria Safe seminar, which officials from Iduapriem Gold Mine, AngloGold Ashanti Malaria Control Limited (AGAMAL), AngloGold Ashanti-Obuasi Mine, and the Municipal Health Directorate attended. Discussions spanned from malaria and its effects on productivity in the mining sector to the need for treated net distribution to support IRS activities.
To ensure sustainability of the programme, it will be mainstreamed into the Municipal Health Directorate’s malaria control programme. The company will also build the capacity of community governance structures to continue education on malaria control.
Local Malaria Ambassador for Iduapriem Gold Mine’s malaria control programme, Nana Adarkwa Bediako III, issued a call to action for the leadership of all communities to support the implementation of programme and put an end to malaria.
Also participating in the event were Queen Mother Wassa Fiase; Traditional Council and Chairperson for the malaria control programme launch Nana Abena Kunadjoa II; Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Chief Executive Honorable Gilbert Asmah; Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Director of Ghana Health Services Mr. Emmanuel Affelkum; PSMP Chief of Party Felix Nyanor-Fosu; Gyasehene of Apinto Stool, religious leaders and others.