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May 5, 2011 | Press Release

New Report shows that Private Sector Investment in Malaria Control saves lives, reduces costs and improves returns

By United Nations

Business Investing in Malaria Control: Economic Returns and a Healthy Workforce for Africa – authored and published by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership (RBM) and launched alongside the World Economic Forum Africa in Cape Town on May 5th – examines evidence from case studies in Zambia, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana and Mozambique to reveal that the benefits to companies of implementing effective malaria control programs for their workers are significant.

The numbers are impressive; in Zambia, for example, combined data from Zambia Sugar, Mopani Copper Mines and Konkola Copper Mines showed that spending an average of just $34 per employee per year over the period from 2000-2009 on malaria control, resulted in a 94% drop in malaria related lost work days per year. The economic return for these companies was very significant. Investing in malaria control brought these companies an internal rate of return (IRR) of 28% annually (IRR is a rate to measure and compare the profitability of investments).

“The findings of this report clearly show that the private sector is a critical partner in the fight against malaria,” says Professor Awa Marie Coll-Seck, RBM Partnership Executive Director. “Businesses are complementing the national efforts and collaborating with other partners to strengthen malaria control programmes in many countries."

Malaria is a completely preventable and treatable disease that still kills almost 800,000 men, women and children worldwide, 90% of them in Africa. On the African continent, this single disease accounts for almost 20% of all child deaths. This heavy burden has serious impacts on businesses and economies, costing the African continent $12 billion annually in lost productivity.

The report finds that in the community of Obuasi in Ghana, AngloGold Ashanti saw a five-fold decrease in monthly malaria medication costs between 2004 and 2009 after collaborating with Ghana's National Malaria Control Programme to carry out the distribution of insecticide-treated nets, rapid diagnosis and treatment, and the spraying of walls inside dwellings with insecticide. According to Steve Knowles, Director of Malaria Control Programs at Anglo Gold Ashanti, “Ongoing surveillance, monitoring and research are key. Another critical success factor is the partnership with the relevant authorities and the local communities.”

At the launch of the report, Herve Verhoosel, External Relations Manager of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, explained, “The numbers in this report show the dramatic successes that are possible when working on malaria, demonstrating that moderately priced interventions can result in real company benefits. Looking closely at the experiences of the three companies in Zambia, you can see a 94% decrease in recorded malaria cases in company clinics, and a 76% in malaria spending over less than a decade, which is truly impressive.”

Also during the launch, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Roll Back Malaria Partnership Goodwill Ambassador said, “I'm calling on the private sector to be more active in the fight against malaria. This issue is important to everyone who lives and works on the African continent, so we need to see every company involved.”

The World Economic Forum has endorsed the report. Olivier Raynaud Senior Director, Global Health and Healthcare Industries at WEF says, “The Forum will continue to be a strong advocate for businesses—across industries—to engage in partnerships for health; by mobilizing their resources and skills and by providing products or services, businesses can support the health of their employees and their families and contribute to the health of the communities where they operate.”

The launch of the report in Cape Town was co-hosted by the Roll Back Malaria Partnership and the United Nations Information Centre Pretoria.

The Roll Back Malaria (RBM) Partnership is the global framework for coordinated action against malaria. It provides a neutral platform for consensus-building and developing solutions to challenges in the implementation of malaria control interventions and strategies. RBM is a public-private partnership that also facilitates the incubation of new ideas and lends support to innovative approaches.

The Partnership promotes high-level political commitment and keeps malaria high on the global agenda by enabling, harmonizing and amplifying partner-driven advocacy initiatives. Founded by UNICEF, WHO, the World Bank and UNDP and strengthened by the expertise, resources and commitment of more than 500 partner organizations, the Partnership secures policy guidance and financial and technical support for control efforts in countries and monitors progress towards universal goals.

Please see the Private Sector Flyer in your press kit.

For more information about the Business Investing in Malaria Control: Economic Returns and a Healthy Workforce for Africa Report and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, please contact Herve Verhoosel.

Email: [email protected]
Cell/Mobile: +1-917-345-5238
(Cape Town, until May 6th: +27-21-412-9999)

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