The National, Tuesday July 16th, 2013
A MOSQUITO net distribution programme has helped to reduce the number of Hidden Valley mine employees being infected with malaria.
The distribution is part of an on-going malaria awareness campaign for all Morobe Mining Joint Ventures (MMJV) employees.
In the past year, more than 5,000 mosquito nets had been handed out to employees and contractors at all MMJV sites, including the Hidden Valley mine, Wafi-Golpu project, Wau Exploration Base and Lae.
The Hidden Valley medical team’s Dr Erica Opu said since the launching of the awareness in January, the number of malaria cases had gradually dropped from 195 in January to 66 in June, with malaria rapid diagnostic test positive cases down from 45 in January to 32 in June.
She said malaria was still the leading cause of rest-off shift but had dropped from 75 shifts per month to 40 shifts.
“These figures show that workers are now taking care of their own health and protecting themselves against malaria, thus reassuring us that the awareness against malaria and issuing of mosquitoes nets to employees have been effective in reducing the number of malaria cases as well as educating the workforce on preventing malaria at home,” she said.
Opu said although the weather at Hidden Valley was too cold to catch malaria, “treated mosquito nets are still given to staff to use at their homes during their field break”.
On July 5, Dr Conny Casper, who is attached to the Wafi-Golpu project’s health and safety department, gave a presentation on malaria and general discussions on how to prevent the sickness at home and in the workplace to MMJV staff at the 9-Mile core shed.
“This is part of the ongoing awareness on malaria that would be run throughout all of MMJV sites throughout the year and at the Wafi-Golpu Project, we’re not only talking malaria but are taking steps to prevent it at the workplace,” he said.
“Distribution of mosquito nets must always go with good education about malaria and the function of mosquito nets and how to take care of them,” Casper said.