Businesses must invest in malaria control—First Lady

First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo has encouraged corporate institutions to promote the productivity and health of their workforce and communities by paying particular attention to malaria prevention and control.

Mrs. Akufo-Addo, launching the “Malaria Safe” project in Accra, indicated that as the country progresses towards economic growth and quality development, private sector participation in malaria prevention is a sure way to supporting government in sustaining health and promoting wealth.

“Malaria, we must admit, is bad for business; the disease, as has been proven, is responsible for employee absenteeism and increased healthcare spending and also accounts for decreased productivity, all of which can negatively impact a company’s reputation and progress,” she said.

The First Lady also urged the private business sector to rise to the occasion and embrace the goals of the Ghana-UK Private Sector Malaria Prevention project which will go a long way in enabling the private sector, donors, civil society and government towards a common vision of a Malaria Free Ghana.

“Malaria Safe” is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) under the Private Sector Malaria Prevention (PSMP) project of the John Hopkins Centre for Communication Programmes.

The campaign will support corporate institutions to increase productivity and reduce absenteeism rates due to malaria and related illnesses.

Malaria Safe actions seek to ensure malaria-free future, and are categorised into four pillars namely–protection, education, visibility and championing.

A survey report published by the Malaria Journal indicates that about 93 percent of businesses in the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Western regions agreed on the need to invest in malaria control as the disease accounted for an economic loss of US$6.58 million between 2013 and 2014 and 4,000 workdays due to absenteeism.

Chief of Party to the PSMP, Felix Nyanor-Fosu, said at the launch event: “Companies that partner with the PSMP project and adopt the Malaria Safe pillars will be taking strides to protect their employees and communities from malaria.

Malaria Safe will contribute to reducing the burden of malaria among workers and communities in the country, which is important because malaria has a far-reaching effect on business and the economy.”

The PSMP aims to accelerate private sector workplace investments in malaria prevention as it will support employers by facilitating cost-effective Insecticide Treated Net (ITN) distribution plans while providing workplace malaria education sessions for company staff and community members.

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