Thursday 11 January 2018

Malaria Safe

Malaria remains a leading cause of mortality and morbidity for Ghana. In 2016 it was a top cause of death for children in the Prestea Huni-Valley District, where the Prestea Gold Mine is located, and in 2015 the Ghana Health Service reported 23,773 cases in that District alone. 

Golden Star undertakes a number of malaria control programs, such as the spraying of residential buildings and offices, the supply of insect repellent sprays to employees, health education, and mitigation initiatives, including pathology testing and anti-malarial treatments.  As a result of these programs, the number of malaria cases reported has decreased by two-thirds over the last five years. 

Working in partnership

In line with our values to be malaria safe company, Golden Star and its partner, the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication’s Program for Private Sector Malaria Prevention (PSMP), organized a training session for its employees and for the people living in our host communities.

Malaria champions for the Bogoso/Prestea Gold Mine
and its catchment communities after the training session

The objective of the training was to provide education about the causes, symptoms, complications and treatment of malaria.  It also aimed to raising awareness about how to protect yourself and your family from malaria by using an insecticide treated net (ITN) in order to maintain malaria safe company.
The team from Johns Hopkins facilitating the
malaria champion training

What was the result?

By the end of the training sessions, 100 people were trained as malaria champions: 53 from the Bogoso/Prestea mine and 47 from the Wassa mine.  Most participants said they hadn’t fully understood what causes malaria in the past or the significance of the steps you can take to prevent it.

Golden Star and its partners will continue to educate our employees and host communities to ensure we remain a malaria safe company.

What has been the impact?

Who is better to ask than the new anti-malaria ambassadors?

Sarah Asare, Nurse at Wassa Akropong Clinic
“I thank Golden Star and its partners for this initiative because they are helping reduce the burden on the health sectors.  This one day training course has been very educative and helpful. I want this training to continue because it will help create awareness and reduce malaria cases and I hope the company will organize these trainings more often for the communities.” 

Richard Amoah Baidoo, Safety Department at Prestea Underground Gold Mine
“I want to thank Golden Star for their commitment in ensuring the success of this training. It has been very interesting and much educative especially on the need to use an ITN. I used to have a different opinion about the ITN but I believe this training has helped eradicate that misconception. For me, I think it is always good to sleep under the ITN because we cannot stop malaria but we can prevent it.”

Collins Adjapong from Kofi Manee
“Usually, people think that using the mosquito net is not good and will make you feel hot but this training has actually taught me that sleeping in the net is the best solution to prevent malaria. One amazing thing that I discovered during the training was that mosquitos actually do not lay their eggs in filthy or dirty water but clean water, so even a cup of water left in your room uncovered can breed mosquitos and cause malaria. I want this training to continue and I would love if it if it was done every three months.”

Joyce Owusu Ampomah, Nurse at Bogoso Health Service
”Although I work in the health sector, there are some things I didn’t know about malaria before the training session. I knew that malaria can kill but I wasn’t aware that it can also cause problems to the brain like epilepsy and blindness. Now I think this knowledge will not only help me educate my patients and the community but also my family and children. I am very impressed and I thank Golden Star for this training, I will be glad if training programs like this can continue to help reduce the infant mortality rate and make Ghana a malaria-free country”

Eric Angmor, Community Development at Mampon
“I thought I knew a lot about malaria but the training today has been very good, especially on the use of the ITN. Most people say sleeping under the ITN is not conducive with regards to room temperature so they prefer using the mosquito spray or coil but this training has taught me that the best remedy to prevent malaria is the use of the net. The ITN is very effective, affordable and has a longer expiry date of 3 years. I think if we have something that is going to prevent malaria then it is about time we come together as a country to promote the use of the ITN, especially in the rural communities”

Marriam Abdulai, nursing mother from Bogoso
“I thank Golden Star for this training because it has really helped me as a mother. Malaria is something we all know about, but this training has taught me so much. Most of us have grown up thinking that unclean gutters and stagnant water breeds malaria but I got to know through this training that it is clean water that actually breeds mosquitos and its effects on children are more serious than I thought. As a mother I would encourage all mothers to take malaria very seriously and sleep under the treated net to save themselves and their children.”

Eric Asare, Nurse at Akyempim Clinic
 “This training was very impactful, even though it was a refresher course for me since I am already into malaria prevention.  I already knew the causes, prevention, signs, symptoms and the management of malaria but there was something new that I learnt and that was the number of batches that mosquitos lay their eggs. I learnt they lay eggs in 7 batches and within each batch they lay a number of eggs within 3 weeks. So for me, I think we should do more in terms of educating and sensitizing the community because if mosquitos are supposed to lay eggs in 7 batches within 3 weeks then it should tell you how serious the issue of malaria is. One exciting thing I heard was that the company is making plans to purchase ITNs for employees and probably some community members, which I think is a good initiative and the most effective way of preventing malaria. God Bless Golden Star.”

Ebenezer Annan from Kubekro
“This training has helped me to know how to keep my house and surroundings free from mosquitos because it is not the filthy places that breed mosquitos but cleans waters. So if I leave my bucket of water uncovered for days it could breed mosquitos. Another interesting thing that I learnt was that these coils and sprays do not kill the mosquitos but only make them feel drowsy and the only way to protect ourselves is the use of the ITN. I thank Golden Star and I hope to see more of such training.”

Isaac Boateng from Kubekro
“First of all I would want to thank Golden Star for organizing this training; it has really taught me a lot. I learnt that although there are a lot of types of mosquito but it only the anopheles mosquito that carries malaria. I also learnt about the best way to prevent ourselves from getting malaria which is the use of the ITN. This training also made me understand how malaria can affect the economy in terms of productivity; I therefore encourage everyone to sleep under the ITN so that the country’s productivity can increase”

Evelyn Adu Gyamfi from Akosombo
“This training has taught me about how important it is to use the ITN and how malaria can affect the country economically. Most people in my community complain about the effect they get when they sleep under the ITN, but through this training I have learnt that the ITN must be hung in the shade for 24 hours before use and this has made it easier to teach my community about how to use the net and what to do before using it in order not to feel too hot. Now I look forward to seeing a malaria free community.”

Regina Ampong from Akyempim
“I have learnt a lot through this training. I didn’t know much about the ITN, I have never used it before and the way people complain about it didn’t even make me want to use it. During the training, we were told that the net should be hanged under a shade for 24hours before use and this has begun helping my community because I came to teach them what to do.  I have also decided to get one for myself because it is better to spend a little to protect oneself than to spend fortune to heal yourself.”

Samuel Owusu Kumi, Supply Department at Wassa Gold Mine
“I realized there was more to malaria than I thought and I have come to terms with the actual facts about it. Usually we think every mosquito that bites gives malaria and every mosquito breeds in filthy places. It was after the training that I realized that even the anopheles mosquito knows what hygiene is, because it breeds only in clean water. I would say this is a very important thing I have learnt and that will go a long way to assist the community and our working environment.”

Patience Aninakor, Finance Department at Wassa Gold Mine
“Personally this training has taught me a lot about the effects and prevention of malaria. One thing I learnt was the use of the ITN and the Indoor Residual Spray (IRS). For me that was the first time hearing about the IRS and how it is even done.”

Afia Agyefi Nkansa, Geology Department at Wassa Gold Mine
“I know pretty much about the causes, prevention, signs and symptoms and management of malaria but one new thing I learnt through the training was the misconception I had about mosquitos breeding in filthy areas.  Another interesting thing that I learnt was that the use of the ITN can help reduce malaria to about 70%. Getting to know this statistics, I think I can now teach my community about how important it is to use the ITN.”

Adam Kofi Okyere, HR Department at Wassa Gold Mine
“I thank Golden Star for organizing this important training, it was a very interesting, interactive and educative program. Personally I think this is something that is going to help me, my community and the entire workforce. I look forward to seeing another informative and educative program.”

Benjamin Appiah, Programs Officer at Johns Hopkins University 
“This training has been very interactive and exciting, with a great number of participants. It has equipped and provided amazing opportunities for the selected employees of GSR and members of the catchment communities to have a good knowledge of malaria and how to prevent it. My team and I are looking forward to seeing a Malaria Safe company and catchment.  Ayekoo to Golden Star.”

Award recognition

At Golden Star, our people are our greatest asset so we always strive to be safe and to maintain a healthy workforce. Malaria prevention is one of the major health topics discussed during our safety meetings and tools box meetings.  We always strive to be a Malaria Safe company. 

As a result, Golden Star has been recognized with two Citations and two Malaria Safe Awards for instituting a formalized system of protecting employees, their dependents and its catchment communities from malaria. This award was presented by the Private Sector Malaria Prevention (PSMP) project of Johns Hopkins University/Center for Communication Programs which is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFIP).

HR Manager for the Bogoso/Prestea mine, Albert Soboh,
receiving the award

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