fighting to stop malaria

Each year, up to half a billion cases of malaria are reported worldwide, killing between one and three million people. Sadly, the majority of those killed are young children in sub-Saharan Africa. The statistics are sobering, the problem is vast. And for the past 16 years, through its malaria program, Chevron has worked to make an impact against this killer.

Last year, Chevron made a US$5 million donation to the Angolan Ministry of Health to help fight malaria as part of our commitment to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria – the largest corporate donation ever made to fight the disease. Since 1994, the company has also distributed more than 150,000 mosquito nets impregnated with insecticides to communities throughout Angola.

"Malaria is the leading cause of death in Angola and claims many lives throughout Africa," said Alan Kleier, managing director of the Southern Africa strategic business unit (SASBU). "If we are going to see an end to this terrible disease, we must support efforts like those of the Angolan government to eradicate it."

In Angola, a worker examines a plasma sample through a microscope at a laboratory

In Angola, a worker examines a plasma sample through a microscope at a laboratory.

In advance of World Malaria Day on April 25, 2010 the SASBU held Chevron Malaria Awareness Week, which consisted of a series of activities directed to its employees and contractors in Luanda and Cabinda and the communities in these provinces. As part of the effort to bring greater attention to the disease, the company partnered with popular Angolan singer Yola Semedo to carry out awareness campaigns throughout the country, including concerts, interviews and other events. Other activities included visits to the São Paulo and Cabasango open markets in Luanda and Cabinda to help clean up the markets and talk to the vendors about malaria, how it's transmitted, prevention and treatment.

The week served as a time of reflection, awareness and reaffirmation of Chevron's efforts to fight this disease and contribute to the reduction of malaria infection rates among its employees, their families and the community. This year's theme was Countdown Against Malaria in Angola.

Education Saves Lives

Education is a key component to the eradication of malaria, which is caused by parasites that are transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Although it is serious and potentially fatal, malaria is preventable with the proper precautions. The company is promoting what is called the A-B-C-D Guide to Malaria Prevention:

A - Awareness: Know the enemy and how to protect yourself

Malaria-causing parasites are transmitted by a specific type of mosquito that feeds between sunset and sunrise. It prefers dark, damp and hidden places. Once bitten by an infected mosquito, it can take nine to 14 days until illness appears.

B - Bite Prevention

Mosquito control and personal protection are the best defenses against bites. Mosquitoes can be controlled by limiting breeding areas by eliminating standing water and preventing mosquito access to living areas. Personal protection to minimize bites includes bed nets, personal insect repellants and wearing long, loose-fitting clothing.

C - Chemoprophylaxis: Take all preventive medications as recommended

Because mosquito bites cannot be completely eliminated, antimalarial medication (chemophylaxis) is taken to kill the parasite when it enters the bloodstream. It is strongly recommended that all non-immune travelers to sub-Saharan Africa take chemoprophylaxis. To be effective, all medication must be started two weeks before your trip and continued after you leave the area, usually for four weeks.

D - Diagnosis: Seek immediate attention for early diagnosis and treatment

Symptoms of malaria may include fever, headaches, sweats and chills, pain in the back and joints, fatigue, cough, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and can occur up to six months after leaving a malarious area. If malaria is suspected, seek medical attention as soon as possible and inform your medical provider of your recent travels.

Through education, awareness and an unwavering commitment, Chevron and our partners in Angola are working to make malaria a thing of the past.

Updated: July 2010

Published: July 2010