Here’s a shocking statistic: In 2017, there were 219 million cases of malaria in 87 countries, and 435,000 people died from it. Malaria kills a child under the age of five every two minutes. As a family company and parents ourselves, we just can’t live with that.
That’s why we work every day to that can carry diseases like malaria. We opened our first insect research center back in 1957. Today, the is one of the largest private, urban entomology research centers in the world.
But reducing malaria and other diseases isn’t just about the root cause. It’s also about access to health care for treatment when needed. That’s why in 2018, SC Johnson began a new partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health to increase health care access.
Together, we're providing 50 health posts across Rwanda to help address malaria and other public health issues. We started by supporting 10 health posts in 2018 and announced plans to build 40 more in 2019. This expands access to health care and malaria education for more than 200,000 people.
With our partners, SC Johnson is co-developing a national strategy to address public health issues in Rwanda, including malaria, HIV/AIDS, family planning, access to clean water and nutrition.
Key to this plan are the new health posts. Previously, those in rural Rwanda might have to walk up to three hours to reach health care support. Imagine what a challenge that is when you’re already feeling ill.
Now, many more people have a health post within a closer distance. They are managed by the Rwandan Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health Rwanda, with collaboration from SC Johnson.
Announcing the first post, Dr. Diane Gashumba, Rwanda Minister of Health, explained, “The ten health posts will help us to bring much-needed health care closer to the most vulnerable communities. This will help to improve family health overall and immediately address health care challenges, like malaria, across the country.”
To tackle malaria specifically, this partnership also includes developing country-wide national standards to address mosquito-borne diseases and set safety and efficacy standards for pest products. Studies have shown that spatial repellents can reduce the frequency of biting and may reduce new malaria occurrences.
The intent is to increase access to and proper use of spatial and personal insect repellents, and encourage positive behavior changes that help reduce the potential risk of mosquito-borne disease. This is an ongoing goal for SC Johnson, which the company also tackles through its educational mosquito website with tips in 14 languages.
As our Chairman and CEO, Fisk Johnson, explained when announcing addition of 40 health posts in 2019, “We’re continually working to get people educational information and products that may help protect them from mosquito-borne illness. Beyond helping local families, this partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health Rwanda is providing insights and best practices that will help our efforts to fight malaria in other countries around the world.”