Chirano Gold Mines: Engaged in the Fight in Ghana
The National Malaria Control Program in Ghana has welcomed the efforts of Voices for a Malaria-Free Future to identify promising private sector malaria control practices and share them to increase other malaria control programs within the private sector. One such company, Chirano Gold Mines, has reduced its malaria case load by 77% in four years, with a new commitment of $5.6 million to malaria control efforts that will protect communities in two districts through 2016.
Owned jointly by Canadian-based Kinross Gold Corporation and the government of Ghana, Chirano Gold Mines are located in Sefwi Etwebo, in the country’s western region, where malaria is the leading cause of death. “Reducing the impact of this disease on our workforce, the surrounding communities and the socio-economic structure is our goal,” says John Seaward, Chirano’s general manager.
Modeled after the successful integrated malaria control program of Anglo Gold Ashanti, the Chirano Gold Mines program extends throughout 13 communities within Chirano’s operational territory. The first phase of the program began in September 2008 as a mosquito abatement project that employed larval control and environmental management. In May 2009 it grew into a fully integrated program, with indoor residual spraying, targeted larviciding, the distribution of long lasting insecticide treated bednets, prevention and treatment education in the community. The next phase of the project will scale up current interventions to extend to 50% of the communities in two districts through 2016.
So far, Chirano’s employee clinic reports show that the incidence of malaria has dropped from 912 treated cases per 1000 in 2008 to 210 cases per 1000 people in 2011, amounting to a reduction of 77% in four years.
Over 600 chiefs, queen mothers, government officials, mine workers, and community members of the Sefwi Wiawso and Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai districts attended the announcement of Chirano’s $5.6 million commitment in August 2011, demonstrating the scope and scale of the effort. Chirano’s integrated malaria control program includes as partners Vector Control Consult Ltd, the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research, the district assemblies and district health management teams of Sefwi Wiawso and Bibiani Anhwiaso-Bekwai, the Ghana Education Service, and the NMCP.
As a UAM partner, Chirano has made a visible commitment to the fight against malaria by joining the campaign, sharing their malaria control practices and results, and incorporating the Black Stars Malaria Cheer song into its community education efforts. “We at Chirano Mines are pleased that our efforts are being recognized and are ready to work with all others to break the malaria cycle. Malaria can be eliminated, and Ghana can be malaria-free,” says Seaward.