Anglo Gold Ashanti (AGA) is a global gold mining company and the world’s third largest gold producer. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, the company has 17 mines in 10 countries and explorations in several other countries
In 2004, the company identified malaria as the biggest public health threat to its operations in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2005, the Mine Hospital recorded over 6,800 malaria cases each month out of which 2,500 were mine workers. An average of 3 days taken off work per patient meant 7,500 man shifts lost per month. Also, slow work rate during recuperation resulted in a major loss in productivity. Costs of malaria medication for treatment of AGA employees was over US$55,000 annually.
In view of this a comprehensive malaria control programme was launched in 2005 to address this menace which was impacting productivity on the mine. The initial objective was to reduce the burden of malaria in Obuasi by 50% within the first two years of IRS operations.
The program involved prevention using Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), insecticide-treated nets, larval source reduction and environmental management.
Diagnosis & treatment, surveillance and intensive community sensitisation were also deployed alongside the IRS in order to increase impact.
Malaria also affected school and work attendance within the Obuasi Municipality.
Within two years of program implementation, malaria cases recorded at the Mine Hospital had reduced by 74%, exceeding the initial goal of 50% set at inception.