Every year on April 25 the global community convenes to commemorate World Malaria Day, which was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) almost 10 years ago as an occasion to highlight the need for continued awareness and commitment for malaria prevention.
Malaria is a life-threatening parasitic disease that remains a significant health issue faced by people living in or traveling to one of the many malaria-endemic countries. The disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that, upon biting, transmit malaria parasites to humans.
With proper protection and early diagnosis, malaria can be prevented and treated. The World Health Organization's research shows that since 2000 malaria mortality rates have decreased by 47% worldwide and by 54% in the African region.
Malaria is a significant health issue for Schlumberger, a company that operates in 85 countries, many of them in malarial zones. Over a decade ago, the company launched its malaria prevention program, which has been successful in reducing malaria-related incidences among its workforce. Prevention measures include malaria online training, curative kits, and use of four-point impregnated bed nets. The program, which is continuously re-evaluated and updated, helps contribute to the global efforts to control malaria by protecting employees and their families.
Advocating malaria prevention through knowledge sharing
In addition to promoting malaria prevention among its employees, Schlumberger organizes awareness-raising workshops for young people in malarial countries through the company's educational outreach programs HSE for Youth and SEED. The sessions are facilitated by trained employee volunteers as well as Schlumberger HSE team members, employees, their spouses, and members of local communities. The workshops use materials and activities adapted from the company's malaria prevention program.
At the workshops, participants gain knowledge about malaria, for example, that the disease is transmitted by female mosquitoes that bite mostly at night, and attendees also learn how to recognize the symptoms. Bite-prevention tips include sleeping under an impregnated four-point bed net, using mosquito repellent and wearing suitable clothing when outdoors at night such as long sleeves t-shirts, trousers and light color clothes. The workshops also explain the importance of eliminating mosquito breeding sites, for example stagnant water.
According to the most recent WHO malaria report, an estimated 3.3 billion people worldwide are at risk of being infected with malaria, 198 million cases of malaria occurred globally and the disease led to 584, 000 fatalities. Those most at risk are in the African region, where an estimated 90% of all malaria deaths occur.
With ongoing education about malaria, including how it can be prevented and treated, people are empowered to boost prevention measures in their homes and communities, which will help to diminish malaria.