According to the ‘World Malaria Report 2013’ published by the WHO, global endeavours to control and eliminate malaria have saved an estimated 3.3 million lives since 2000, reducing malaria mortality rates by 45% globally and by 49% in Africa.
Increased efforts to implement prevention and control measures have been mirrored by a consistent decline in malaria deaths and illness, despite an increase in the global population at risk between 2000 and 2012.
‘This remarkable progress is no cause for complacency: absolute numbers of malaria cases and deaths are not going down as fast as they could’, says Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. ‘The fact that so many people are infected and dying from mosquito bites is one of the greatest tragedies of the 21st century’.
In 2012, there were an estimated 207 million cases of malaria , which caused approximately 627,000 deaths. An estimated 3.4 billion people continue to be at risk of malaria, mostly in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Saipem’s efforts in the fight against malaria
Saipem is committed to protecting the health of its workforce and to improving that of its host communities. The potential impact of malaria is significant because of the complex interaction it entails between biological, geographical, social and political factors. Social and economic loss each year due to death from malaria, and the debility caused by repeated infections, are huge in those very regions of the world least able to withstand them. Most cases occur in Africa, Southeast Asia, South America and the Indian Subcontinent.
In 2013, 47 sites located in endemic areas were all involved in the Saipem Malaria Control Programme. The number of personnel working in malaria risk areas eligible for awareness raising courses was 5,314. Out of these, 5,312 attended the course which discussed important issues about malaria, prevention and prophylactic measures.
The overall Malaria Case Rate (MCR) this year is 0.09 (MCR is the incidence of stewardable malaria cases per 200,000 exposure-hours). This is a decrease of 47% compared to data for the previous year (0.17). The main improvement was with non-immune expatriate employees. In 2012, the MCR for expatriates was 0.62 (11.6 million man-hours worked and 36 cases), while in 2013 the MCR was 0.37 (11.4 million man-hours worked and 21 cases).
This is a decrease of 40%. On the other hand, there were no significant changes in MCR for local employees (0.01 MCR in 2012, 0 MCR in 2013) and subcontractor employees, of which the majority were locals (0.08 MCR in 2012, 0.08 MCR in 2013). This result indicates the positive effects for Saipem employees, particularly to expatriates, of a comprehensive malaria prevention programme.
All 25 cases of malaria were from West Africa: 20 in Nigeria, 4 in the Congo and 1 in Angola.
The general pattern of MCR in African high-risk malaria countries shows cyclical improvements, with an accentuated downward trend over the last few years. This reveals the strong commitment, concrete responsibility and comprehensive effort between site managers, health personnel and employees.
Due to the possible risk of infection during transit, employees working offshore located in malaria endemic countries were also provided with malaria information courses. Distribution of repellents and permethrin-treated clothes was also carried out. FDS and Saipem 3000 handed out 500 and 450 items of clothing respectively to their crews. Scarabeo 7 assisted local employees’ families with medicines and insect repellent.
The following criteria are considered during target setting and future analysis:
- the workload expectation in malaria areas where estimation depends on:
- the degree of exposure to malaria, with a different risk onshore vs. offshore worksites and also with a different risk of transmission within endemic areas from Asia, Africa or South America;
- the status of immunity to malaria infection (the number of non-immune expats vs. semi-immune local employees);
- evaluation of work typology.
World Malaria Day was celebrated on all projects in Nigeria, where doctors and nurses performed malaria awareness campaigns simultaneously. As part of the Company’s commitment to malaria prevention for local communities, Saipem Nigeria distributed 2,000 ITN (Insecticide Treated Nets) to Saipem employees, to whom permethrin impregnated T-shirts were also made available.
Along with regular outdoor and indoor fumigation, electrical mosquito repellents were also installed in accommodation as another effective preventive measure. These combined efforts allowed Saipem Nigeria to reduce the incidence of malaria of non-immune employees from 50 in 2011, to 31 in 2012 and 20 in 2013.
During World Malaria Day, toolbox meetings dedicated to malaria prevention were organised at the Boscongo Yard and on Rig 5895 with a high-level commitment from Saipem Congo management. Saipem’s Malaria Control Programme is fully implemented in the Congo.
Malaria inductions are organised for non-immune employees newly assigned to the country. About 188 people took part in malaria induction in 2013, 370 mosquito repellents for skin and clothing were distributed, 185 items of clothing were impregnated with permethrin and 50 non-immune people agreed to take chemoprophylaxis.
In 2013, 943 employees in the Ambriz Yard received induction on malaria and signed the declaration of attendance. 126 employees agreed to take chemoprophylaxis. In the Dwet office, 61 employees attended malaria induction in the medical department of Saipem Angola Branch. During these activities the following topics were explained: Malaria Transmission; Incubation Period; Symptoms and Signs; Prevention of Mosquito Bites, Chemoprophylaxis and, finally, the importance of Early Diagnosis and Treatment.