Malaria remains a major occupational health concern accounting for several deaths per year and numerous lost work days among expatriate population, working and living in high malarious areas. Approximately 1% of all non-immune travellers who acquire P. falciparum infection die. Nigeria is a malaria endemic country with high transmission throughout the year. Employers within the oil industry usually adopt a malaria control program (MCP) which in generic terms consists of awareness, bite prevention, use of chemoprophylaxis and early diagnosis and treatment. It is clear that no single approach will sufficiently reduce this risk.Methods
Primary data was gathered through self-administered anonymised questionnaires to 35 non-immune expatriate respondents attending a clinic in Lagos. The questionnaire, completed at spot, sought to gather information on awareness and uptake of various employers’ corporate malaria control programs – chemoprophylaxis use vs CMK/SBET approach.Results
Awareness to the malaria risk is high in the population at risk and this increased risk perception is significantly associated with risk-averse behaviours ( χ2 =6.13, CI 99%). Take-up of chemoprophylaxis (91%) while at work is encouraging as is compliance, post-travel. 60% of respondents that use chemoprophylaxis also carry Curative Malaria Kits (CMK). However, this risk perception did not seem to be significantly associated with acceptance of employer’s policy contractually obligating use of chemoprophylaxis. ( χ2 =0.73, CI 50%).Conclusion
The most crucial aspect of any MCP is awareness. When non-immune employees are properly aware of the malarial risk, they are normally motivated to take responsibility for their own health and safety, and exhibit this motivation by demonstrating flourishing positive attitudes to preventative measures and advice given by employers. The study shows that although non-immune employees seem to be aware of the malarial risk, gaps in knowledge still exist. Long-term occupational travellers, rotational and offshore workers present some of the biggest challenge to the oil industry’s effort at controlling malaria.