By Fara Ndiaye
Regional Manager for West Africa, Speak Up Africa*
Dr. Armand Mbaye is the malaria focal point at the Senegalese Sugar Company (Compagnie Sucrière Sénégalaise, or CSS). Since the inception of the malaria elimination program in Richard-Toll, Dr. Mbaye has overseen of the program’s monitoring, evaluation, and reporting process to the health district. He also takes part in the surveillance and investigation team that monitors the new positive cases.
Why did the CSS become so invested in the fight against malaria in Richard-Toll?
Health is a cross-cutting issue. It involves all actors of society—from farmers to administrative authorities and specific health actors. With the revival of the public-private partnership led by the health district management team, we really felt the added value of our actions.
As a Senegalese citizen first and then as a doctor, it is my duty to inquire [about] the health problems of my compatriots. The commitment of the CSS is also patriotic. We envy no one. Resources are available but we just need to have an unwavering commitment to overcome the difficulties we face on the ground. That is why the CSS considers it useful to go into the field and participate in those investigative missions with the health district team and other community workers to better grasp what affects our workers. Without this close surveillance, we would not be able to ensure that there is no local transmission of malaria.
Why do you think this model works?
We are grateful to the Richard-Toll health district management team for the openness they have developed towards private companies. We clearly feel that our actions are now valued and put to use.
CSS is also fully committed to the malaria elimination project implemented in Richard-Toll by the National Malaria Control Program and MACEPA because this initiative has a direct impact on our business. Before establishing this internal policy, we used to record 20 cases of malaria per day. Six months after the start of the investigation and case management program, we had recorded only 24 cases of malaria. Regarding the financial burden of the disease, clear benefits have also surfaced. The purchase of antimalarials that used to cost us US$23,000 over six months, now only costs US$300. The project has also had a great impact on our productivity. We all know that productivity is key to any company. With this project, workers need less recovery time as the disease is treated as soon as the diagnosis is confirmed. They are therefore able to return to work more quickly. As far as we are concerned, the relevance of our commitment to this project is fully proven.
*Speak Up Africa is a Dakar-based health communications and advocacy organization whose goal is to engage all sectors of African society in the fight to eliminate malaria.