IntlSOS 30 Years - From East to West - Page 141



07 A Broadening Service | Freeport McMoRan, DRC
Major Milestone
Freeport McMoRan, DRC –
An Award Winning Partnership
We have already met Freeport McMoRan, one of
the world’s leading producers of copper, gold and
molybdenum. Freeport operates in many parts of
the world where there are serious community health
risks including lack of clean water and sanitation,
and a range of infectious diseases. These areas tend
to have very limited access to health services.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) brings
particular challenges: It is a post conflict environment
and is extremely impoverished. Freeport’s introduction
to this area came when it bought US company Phelps
Dodge, in 2009, and took over its Tenke Fungurume
copper mine in the Katanga Province.
We became involved very soon after. In fact Dr Myles
Neri already knew the site well and had a number of
concerns about its healthcare standards. He raised
these with Dr Bethea who immediately went there,
ahead of any other Freeport executives, to investigate
with Myles. We were tasked to work with Dr Bethea,
to design and implement a proper medical service
to look after all Freeport’s employees on the site. We
worked closely together. As the Chairman of Freeport,
Mr James R Moffet, put it at the time, “Our two
companies are joined at the hip.”
Malaria prevention programme,
Freeport site, Democratic Republic
of Congo, 2011.
community surveys to get a better picture of the
local knowledge, attitudes and practices. It became
clear that different groups would require different
levels of intervention.
We embarked on a programme of indoor spraying,
provision of long-lasting insecticide bed nets,
and drainage control to deter mosquito breeding.
Meanwhile our on-site clinic provided prompt and
accurate malaria diagnosis and treatment, available
to all workers and their families. For the local
community, Freeport provided one bed net per
family, and we helped train the national staff in the
early identification of malaria and held regular
workshops on awareness and prevention.
Since the programme’s inception, malaria incidence
among employees and in the community has
decreased from hyper-endemic to a prevalence
rate better than any other region in the Congo.
In November 2011, Dr Benjamin Atua Matindi,
Director of the National Malaria Control Programme
from the DRC’s Ministry of Health in Kinshasa, visited
Tenke Fungurume and declared the site “a centre
of excellence for malaria control in the country.”
As in West Papua we provided medical services to
the staff plus broader public health services.
Baseline research showed very high malaria
prevalence among local employees, their families
and the surrounding community, so malaria control
was identified as a priority. This was to be the first
professionally run large-scale control programme
on a mine site, carried out in that country.
In May 2012 the malaria programme gained Freeport
first place in the Workplace/Workforce Engagement
category at the prestigious GBCHealth Awards in
New York.
To get the project underway our medical experts
examined the biology and ecology of the local
disease-carrying mosquito, looked at infection rates
and insecticide resistance patterns and carried out
Arnaud Vaissié: “This achievement reflects the
valuable contribution Freeport and International
SOS have made to malaria prevention and
health development in this area.”
Dr Bethea: “International SOS was instrumental in
making this happen – their expertise and dedication
to our cause were absolutely vital.”
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