Malaria Safe partners strategize and strengthen networks in Tanzania
United Against Malaria corporate partners met in Tanzania last week to advance the role of the private sector in malaria control, building on top-level support from the Prime Minister, who recently invited 32 new companies to become Malaria Safe.
The May 21 breakfast meeting, organized by Voices, united some 40 members from 26 organizations, including current UAM partners Said Salim Bakhresa, Stanbic Bank, Tanzania Football Federation, Tanzania Breweries, Tourism Confederation of Tanzania, Songas, Serengeti Breweries, Tanzania Tourist Board, Total, British Gas, Achelis Tanganiyika, Vodacom, and No. 10 Magazine. New and prospective partners included Medical Stores Department, Diamond Trust Bank, Zantel, Tigo, CRDB Bank, Public Service Pension Fund, Exim Bank, Azania Bank and Local Authorities Pensions Fund.
To new and prospective partners, Anna McCartney-Melstad of Voices emphasized that what makes Malaria Safe unique is that it does not require cash contributions to an external fund or entity, but rather a commitment to invest in malaria control for a company’s own workers. Her overview reviewed the four pillars—education, protection, visibility and advocacy—and laid out next steps for those partners who were contacted by the Prime Minister in late 2012.
Two engaged partners shared their successes at the meeting. First, Abdallah Singano of Stanbic explained how the bank has trained more than 500 employees, provided workers with mosquito nets and health insurance that guarantees proper malaria treatment, and distributed nets to hospitals. The company recognized a need to increase its efforts to reach more costumers and communities with malaria messages.
Following him, Marsha Msuya of Total detailed how her company has categorized its beneficiaries into groups. About 250 employees have benefited from malaria education, net distributions and insurance plans that allow them to get proper treatment, while customers were given leaflets with malaria messages. About 3,000 primary school students participated in malaria discussions and received school kits with UAM logos and messaging; the trickle-down effect of this campaign is expected to reach about 10,000 children, and more community engagement is underway.
After a lively discussion among current and prospective partners, Leodegar Tenga, president of the Tanzania Football Federation and a long-time UAM champion, shared his experiences from the sporting arena, which benefits from a robust malaria awareness campaign. “You need a healthy society to have successful football,” he said.
A work session followed wherein Voices collected baseline data from companies that attended the meeting. One questionnaire tracked current and past engagement in Malaria Safe activities. Another surveyed interest in future activities and assessed availability for follow-up meetings with the Voices team of Furaha Kabuye, Vicky Macha and Nicole Kapesi. In closing, UAM partners sat down together to discuss remaining issues and strengthen their networks as they become Malaria Safe.
In Tanzania and other African countries, Malaria Safe companies protect and educate their employees, create visibility for UAM activities and objectives, and advocate for improved policies and funding for malaria control. In partnership, public sector groups such as the Tanzania Parliamentarians Against Malaria help locate and allocate additional resources for integrated control.
Photo: Marsha Msuya, corporate affairs manager for Total Tanzania, presented her company's Malaria Safe contributions during a UAM partners meeting on May 21.