Anti-malaria service saves lives, money

Malaria costs lives and it costs money, so any company doing business in Africa should incorporate a budget in their strategy to deal with the disease, according to a Namibian firm who offers a practical service aimed at fighting malaria at site.
MalariAlert was developed by Windhoek consulting engineers Burmeister and Partners. It involves Malaria costs lives and it costs money, so any company doing business in Africa should incorporate a budget in their strategy to deal with the disease, according to a Namibian firm who offers a practical service aimed at fighting malaria at site.
MalariAlert was developed by Windhoek consulting engineers Burmeister and Partners. It involves risk assessment, mosquito eradication, education and provision of products.
The MalariAlert service consists of three phases. In the first phase, a consultant is sent to the area for a risk assessment. It involves a site inspection, liaison with local authorities and doctors in the area and includes a cost assessment.
The cost of the service depends on the area and on the measures to be taken.
Based on this report, the client can decide whether to go ahead with the next phase.
In phase two the local area and camp are cleaned up. Standing water is removed, spray teams are sent in, and staff and members of the local community who may come into contact with staff, receive training. The number of mosquitoes is reduced as is transmission through education of best practice. A team to ensure the area stays malaria-free is provided on a “one-off” or contract basis.
Phase three involves ongoing provision of preventive medication and monitoring of malaria cases. Test kits and preventative products like nets, coils and sprays are also supplied.
“Malaria has remained a scourge in Africa because its eradication has not been linked to a direct economic benefit,” says company spokesman Lourens Ackermann.
He quotes a case of a large contractor working on a project in Mozambique who had 5,000 malaria cases and 12 deaths in two years. Twelve percent of its expatriate staff, who tend to be key personnel, had fallen ill. The 50,000 lost working days, at $50 per day, cost the project $2,5m.
“If the fight against malaria makes bottom line sense, more companies will pay money to get rid of mosquitoes in their area. Eventually we might be able to start linking mosquito-free sites and expand the malaria-free frontier,” says Ackermann.
Ackermann believes his firm is well-positioned for a service of this nature as it is part of an engineering firm which is doing business in Africa and has first hand experience of the prevailing circumstances. Its medical team has been researching and fighting malaria for more than two decades in all parts of Africa and are also liaising with the South Afrcian Medical Research Council.
The risk assessment fee is about $1,430 which includes airfare, accommodation and 2-3 days consulting fee.
MALARIALERT: bp@burmeister.com.na Tel + 264 61-237193; Fax +264-61-234628
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