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SC Johnson & RTI International: Malaria Prevention

Press release from: S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc.

SC Johnson And RTI International Launches Malaria Prevention In South Africa

Partnership with Business, International NGO, Local Government and Research Institute Aimed at Raising Awareness About Reducing Malaria Risk

(CSRwire) RACINE, WI –Today, SC Johnson and RTI International announced a Raid® sponsored malaria prevention program – “Healthy Children, Healthy Homes,” – in South Africa. Through a collaborative effort between South Africa’s National Department of Health (NDOH), the Medical Research Council, RTI International and SC Johnson, this program builds awareness through education on total malaria control, helping communities and individuals understand and participate in programs designed to reduce their risk of malaria. According to the Medical Research Council in South Africa, Malaria kills over one million people each year, most of whom are children under 5, and almost 90 percent of whom live in Africa, south of the Sahara.

“This is absolutely unacceptable that we should have so many deaths and so many people who suffer from malaria when there are proven interventions to control this disease,” said Dr. Manto T’shabalala Msimang, South Africa’s National Minister of Health. “While prevention of malaria infection cannot be guaranteed, we as government are doing everything in our power to minimize the risk of transmission and death from malaria.”

The program is targeting three provinces with endemic Malaria – Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Kwazulu-Natal – where public health officials acknowledge the need to improve their information, education and communication to local citizens and health workers.

“Preventing malaria in these areas starts with education,” says Scott Johnson, SC Johnson’s Vice President, Global Environmental and Safety Actions. “We know there are proven techniques to guard against mosquitoes – the cause of malaria. By building an education program that focuses on mosquito control and the symptoms of malaria, we’ve created an easy way for students to teach their friends and parents practical techniques to prevent the transmission of this disease.

“In the end, our commitment to sustainable development takes many forms – but the desired result with this program is an improvement in the lives of people in South Africa.”

How the Education Program Works

This unique program models the original Healthy Children, Healthy Homes pilot conducted by SC Johnson, RTI International, Florida International University School of Nursing and Zubi Advertising in Miami, Florida, which was aimed at increasing awareness of the triggers of asthma and effective household practices related to controlling these asthma triggers.

In South Africa, the program will target school children through interactive educational materials, and those children are being asked to deliver messages about malaria prevention to their parents – many of whom are unaware of preventive techniques. The primary thrust of this program focuses on action oriented, interactive educational materials such as games, letters and calendars, which children can use to deliver messages to parents and friend(s). Three hundred schools in each of the three provinces are being targeted with a total goal to reach 450,000 children.

The educational experience begins with a community health worker (CHW) visiting a designated school. The CHW uses a flip chart to educate students on malaria and malaria prevention. Each school then receives a malaria prevention poster to hang in a prominent location at school, which is intended to build awareness among the school children so that they can then teach their friends and families. In addition, the students then receive a plastic Raid® bag with a calendar to hang in their homes.

Finally, one of the more unique aspects of this educational program is the use of an interactive game called the Quack Quack game. This paper cut-out game – commonly referred to in the U.S. as the Four Corners game – allows children to play with their friends and/or parents. Game players choose a number; open and close the Quack Quack game as many times as the number they’ve chosen; then keep the Quack Quack open on the last count. Children then ask their friends or parents to choose a question inside the Quack Quack; and open the Quack Quack to find the right answer under the chosen question.

After children have learned how to play with their Quack Quack game and have mastered it, they may write a letter to the Minister of Health and tell him/her what they’ve learned about protecting themselves against malaria. The person with the best letter receives prizes for him/herself and school ranging from furniture to computers.

Program materials were developed with the help of a social scientist and tested to ensure 100 percent student comprehension.

The program will run throughout this coming malaria season, which peaks between January and April 2005. At the end of this season, the NDOH will conduct a follow-up study of knowledge, attitudes and practices within the targeted communities to evaluate the impact of this education program.

About Malaria

According to the Medical Research Council in South Africa, each year there are more than 300 million clinical cases of malaria; that is five times as many as combined cases of tuberculosis, AIDS measles and leprosy. Malaria is responsible for one out of every four childhood deaths in Africa.

Plasmodium is a group of one-celled animal parasites that live on the red cells in the blood of many birds, reptiles and mammals. There are four species of Plasmodium - P. falciparum, P. ovale, P. vivax and P. malariae that can cause malaria in humans. P. falciparum is by far the most dangerous, and unfortunately, it is also the most common in Africa. Malaria is transmitted by certain Anopheles mosquitoes. The parasite has to undergo a crucial development process in the mosquito, and this can only happen in certain mosquitoes.

If pregnant, women are four times more likely to get sick and twice as likely to die from malaria. Malaria also affects the families who harvest crops for a living. For example, malaria-afflicted families are able to harvest only 40 percent of their crops, compared with healthy families, suggesting a link between malaria and poverty. According to Medical Research Council in South Africa, the direct and indirect costs of malaria in Africa are estimated to exceed $2 billion per year. Malaria slows economic growth in African countries by an estimated 1.3 percent each year.

About SC Johnson

Led by the Johnson family for five generations, SC Johnson has held steadfast to its corporate social responsibility. Focus on economic development, environmental and community stewardship continue to be the three key elements of the company’s sustainability plan and remain part of the family company’s enduring values. From being a pioneer in the introduction of water-based aerosols in 1955 to its social leadership today in malaria prevention in South Africa and Ghana, the company continues believes in making a difference in the places in the world in which we operate.

As the first company to remove chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from all aerosol products - three years ahead of the 1978 U.S. mandate - SC Johnson continues to look for innovative ways to safeguard our shared environment. Today, for example, the company is spearheading a new environmental classification system, Greenlist™ that actively integrates environmentally-preferred raw materials and packaging components into its products, thus setting new SC Johnson environmental standards that surpass regulatory requirements and drive innovation.

SC Johnson is a family-owned and -managed business dedicated to innovative, high-quality products, excellence in the workplace and a long-term commitment to the environment and the communities in which it operates. Based in the USA, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of household cleaning products and products for home storage, air care, personal care and insect control. It markets such well-known brands as EDGE®, GLADE®, OFF!®, PLEDGE®, RAID®, SCRUBBING BUBBLES®, SHOUT®, WINDEX® and ZIPLOC® in the U.S. and beyond, with brands marketed outside the U.S. including AUTAN®, BAYGON®, BRISE®, ECHO®, KABIKILLER®, KLEAR®, and MR. MUSCLE®. The 119-year old company, with more than $6 billion in sales, employs approximately 12,000 people globally and sells products in more than 110 countries.

About RTI International

RTI International is an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to conducting research that improves the human condition. With a staff of more than 2,000 people, RTI offers innovative research and development and a full spectrum of multidisciplinary services in health and pharmaceuticals, advanced technology, survey and statistics, education and training, social and economic development, and environment. “RTI International” is a trade name for Research Triangle Institute.

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