Guest Posting by Emmanuel Fiagbey, Voices, Ghana, August 4, 2011: Sefwi Etwebo, Western Region of Ghana
Chirano Gold Mines Ltd. just launched a $5.6 million Integrated Malaria Control Program and joined the United Against Malaria Partnership. Private sector involvement in malaria control has received a big boost in Ghana with the launching of a $5.6 million malaria control program by the Chirano Gold Mines Ltd, a Kinross Company. Over 600 people including chiefs, queen mothers, government officials, mine workers and the people of the Sefwi Wiawso and Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai District attended the lively durbar which marked the occasion.
A section of the chiefs and community members who attended the launching are pictured to the right.
â€œMalaria is a killer, it is the largest cause of death in the Sefwi area. With this effort directed at improving prevention and treatment, this insidious malaria cycle can be reduced and broken. Reducing the impact of this disease on our workforce, the surrounding communities and the socio-economic structure is our goal.â€ So says Mr. John Seaward, General Manager of the Chirano Gold Mines, speaking at the launch ceremony.
Developed and modeled on the highly successful integrated malaria control program of Anglo Gold Ashanti, the Chirano Gold Mines program extends over 13 communities within and outside the operational area of the Chirano Mines.
The first phase of the program which began in September, 2008 as a Mosquito Abatement Project with a major focus on larval control and environmental management grew into a fully integrated program in May 2009 and the results so far are astounding. At the Chirano Mines Clinic, the incidence of malaria has reduced from 912 treated cases per 1000 in 2008 to 210 cases per 1000 people this year 2011 amounting to a reduction of 77% in four years.
The General Manager (photo at left) hinted that after a successful implementation of the first phase of the project (2008-2011) and sustaining the level of achievement being made, the interventions will be intensified and extended to cover 50% of the communities in the two districts through 2016.Â Implementation activities would therefore focus on vector control measures such as IRS, targeted larviciding and the distribution of LLINs supported with engagement of community leaders and people in prevention and treatment community education activities.
A representative of the Manager of the National Malaria Control Program, James Frimpong commended the efforts of Chirano Gold Mines in supplementing the countryâ€™s efforts at working towards eliminating malaria from Ghana. He promised the NMCPâ€™s continued support for the Chirano Gold Mines Integrated Malaria Control Program. Also present at the event was the World Health Organisation Malaria Program Adviser Dr. Felicia Owusu-Antwi.
The UAM partnership was not left out of this event. Mr. Emmanuel Fiagbey, Country Director of the JHU CCP Voices project presented a UAM Ball and 10 copies each of the UAM Malaria-Safe Playbook and CDs of the Black Stars Malaria Cheer song to the General Manager, Mr. John Seaward and invited Chirano Mines to the fold of the UAM partnership. â€œThe UAM Black Stars Cheer Song will not only provide messages on prevention and treatment but also help in mobilizing community members to actively participate in the programâ€™s community level educational activities,â€ Mr. Fiagbey stressed. The UAM Malaria Safe Plabook provides guidance to Private Sector companies on ways in which they could sustain their malaria control activities applying the four pillars of Education, Protection, Visibility and Advocacy.
In his response Mr. Seaward who was moved by the presentation remarked, â€œI am humbled by the fact that the Ghana Black Stars are also part of the campaign against malariaâ€. â€œWe at Chirano Mines are pleased that our efforts are being recognized and are ready to work with all others to ensure the malaria cycle is broken. Malaria can be eliminated and Ghana can be malaria free,â€ he declared.
Other partners on the Chirano Gold Mines Integrated Malaria Control Program include the Vector Control Consult Ltd (Principal Implementer), the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research, the District Assemblies of Sefwi Wiawso and Bibiani Anhwiaso-Bekwai and their District Health Management Teams and the Ghana Education Service.