In the Obuasi area of Ghana, private sector investment in tackling malaria has led to substantial business and community benefits, with drastic reductions in malaria prevalence.
Obuasi is the site of a large gold mine owned by the company AngloGold Ashanti. In 2004, the company saw that its workforce were suffering high levels of malaria, meaning that many of them were off sick at any one time. This was clearly having an impact on its business.
AngloGold Ashanti set out to tackle this with a comprehensive programme that encompassed malaria prevention and treatment and featured indoor residual spraying as a major form of prevention. It is a comprehensive method of malaria control that the company now refers to as the Obuasi model.
"We had a goal of achieving a 50% reduction [in malaria prevalence] within two years," says Sylvester Segbaya, programme director for AngloGold Ashanti malaria control. "Within two years, we actually had a 74% reduction."
While the Edwin Cade hospital in Obuasi saw 6,711 cases of malaria in 2005, the figure was down to 973 by 2009. In late 2013, it was just 238.
The World Health Organisation recommends indoor spraying with residual insecticide (IRS) as a significant method of preventing malaria. It is "… a powerful way to rapidly reduce malaria transmission. Its full potential is realised when at least 80% of houses in targeted areas are sprayed," it says.
This was the case in Obuasi, where the spraying of mines, surrounding buildings, homes and then entire districts have meant that there are simply fewer mosquitoes that can spread malaria. This is benefiting all parts of the community, not just miners. People are spending less on malaria treatment, children are more likely to be healthy and attending school and under-5s are less likely to die of the disease.