UAM Champion: Said Muhammad Said Abeid, Said Salim Bakhresa & Co.
An active champion of United Against Malaria, Mr. Said Muhammad Said Abeid is the general manager of Said Salim Bakhresa & Co. (SSB), an East African flour mill in Tanzania that processes wheat, maize and rice.
Under the leadership of Mr. Said, SSB launched a malaria treatment and prevention program to educate and protect its 6,000 workers. Beginning in 2008, the company distributed nets to its employees, made rapid diagnostic tests and medicine available in its clinics, and updated its malaria protocols. As a result, the company has cut its malaria-related treatment costs by two-thirds. Malaria-related absences have dropped by 80 percent.
“It is simple arithmetic,” Mr. Said explained. “If you count the cost of paying for 34 people per day who are home sick with malaria, plus the costs of hiring people to replace them, the cost is 1,240,000 TZ shillings (about $770) per day. That’s over 146 million TZ shillings per year ($90,300), and that doesn’t even include the medical costs, especially if an employee required emergency care.”
Mr. Said was convinced that investing in malaria control at SSB would help curb expenses, but he still had to convince the company’s board members. “I did my homework,” he said. “We then calculated that with an investment of 72 million TZ shillings ($45,500), we could give nets to all of our 6,000 workers. But we knew that it was an investment.”
The payoff didn’t take long. “We have already, in one year, gotten a return on our investment in mosquito nets,” Mr. Said explained in December 2012.
Sharing these successes, Mr. Said has addressed dignitaries, business leaders, and policy makers at the World Economic Forum in Tanzania, at the national Ministry of Health, and at private sector meetings in New York. He was also honored by the Prime Minister of Tanzania, Hon. Mizengo Pinda, during that country's November 2012 launch of Malaria Safe, a private sector program developed by Voices and UAM.
To learn more about SSB and the Malaria Safe program, please see the Voices case study.