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Malaria Poses A Risk To Contractors And Beyond

Protection form mosquito bites is not being taken even by professionals in the travel risk business, a new survey has found. Less than a quarter of organisations have pre-travel health programmes in place.

Data from medical and travel security risk services company International SOS shows that malaria represents an increasing proportion of offshore medical and accident or injury cases, such as on oil and gas rigs, rising from 13% of all medical cases in 2014 to 41% in 2016. However, with appropriate programmes in place, a greater proportion of these have been managed on board, from 65% to 90% in 2016.

Dr Irene Lai, Medical Director, Medical Information and Analysis said, “While the fight against malaria is reducing the global burden, we still receive thousands of calls into our assistance centre each year for this preventable disease. Malaria can have extremely serious personal health consequences and for businesses can result in significant costs through a failed assignment. Organisations can mitigate this risk with a few simple measures such as education of employees prior to travel, providing travellers with preventive measures and monitoring outbreaks.”
While malaria has been eliminated in some regions, such as Sri Lanka, other areas, such as several provinces in South Africa, have seen the emergence of malaria.

Bernard Aryeety, Deputy Director of Advocacy, Malaria No More UK said, “The UK also has the second highest imported cases of malaria per year in developed countries and globally over 10,000 travellers are reported to return home with malaria each year. This disease continues to pose a serious threat with serious consequences if not treated correctly. The emergence of drug and insecticide resistance also threatens to derail progress, reminding us that the gains of recent years could be rapidly reversed, potentially increasing threat levels to both leisure and business travellers as well as communities. But our global ambition is to reduce global number of cases and deaths by wiping out the disease for good.”

Malaria prevention programmes aimed at employees travelling and working in malaria-risk regions has been found to reduce the occurrence of fatal cases by 70% and the return on investment was $1.32 for each $1 invested. International SOS advises a comprehensive malaria prevention programme including: pre-deployment education, access to preventive medication and other measures such as insect repellents, bed nets and access to urgent diagnosis and treatment.

Employment lawyer Chris Tutton, partner at law firm Constantine Law, speaking to Recruiter, warns recruiters should err on the side of caution in taking these preventative measures, as well as conducting risk assessments ahead of placing contractors in environments where they may be at risk of contracting malaria.


“I think there would be a duty owed to a candidate you are placing,” Tutton said. “There is a potential for candidates to sue recruiters where they are negligent when they go about placing candidates in dangerous situations. It is also a personal injury question as well, because the claim would be that person has suffered a personal injury.”