Impact of malaria on the Extractive Industry
The extractive industry often sees assets located in remote areas where malaria transmission may be high and health services may be particularly weak or absent. This combination of characteristics means that employees, and local communities may be particularly at risk from malaria. Working practices in the extractive industry can also exacerbate the potential for impact from malaria for example:
- Night-shift workers are commonly used at drilling sites. These workers will be at greater risk of being bitten by evening and night biting malaria vectors.
- Employees often work on rotation meaning both local and international employees may go back and forth between home communities and company assets. The differences in malaria context at these locations can complicate the malaria control needs. For example in Papua New Guinea assets may be located in non-malarious areas but the workforce may travel to malarious home communities on rotation. International staff may work at malarious sites but travel to non-malarious ‘home’ locations where the health service may not be expert at dealing with malaria infections.
- Extractive industry activities could make malaria transmission potential worse by creating mosquito breeding sites.
The economic impact of malaria on companies in the extractive industry may therefore be particularly high. There is also a duty of care towards workers for whom the job raises the risk of malaria infection and there may be a strong social responsibility case for intervening to support malaria control in the local communities. The often long-term engagement in an area strengthens the case for getting involved.