Improving employee health with Artemisia in Congo
The management team of the Kamba African Rainforest Experiences in Congo’s Odzala Kokoua National Park has set up a malaria prevention and eradication programme for its employees in conjunction with the Nzassi Congo Artemisia House.
Malaria is a major concern for Kamba. The company manages more than 120 employees in one of Africa’s oldest national parks, and its junior and senior staff regularly suffer from frequent cases of malaria. This is a particularly difficult situation to manage, given the park’s remote location in the north-west of the Republic of Congo.
Reducing the impact of malaria and reducing absenteeism
Every time employees test positive for malaria, they are repatriated to their homes or to Brazzaville for medical treatment. They only return to the park once their treatment has been completed. Malaria not only leads to a high rate of absenteeism, but also to repatriation costs and difficulties in staff management and in the quality of service offered to clients.
Management therefore decided to set up a malaria prevention programme involving the consumption of artemisia afra tea and the development of artemisia afra cultivation within the reserve. The aim is to significantly reduce the impact of malaria at the reserve’s three sites, to become 100% self-sufficient in Artemisia and to have a positive impact on the daily lives of all employees.
Raising awareness and providing training in the use of Artemisia
Last July, Julia Fellay and Rodrigue Kouakie, two representatives of the Nzassi Congo Artemisia House (created in 2023 and a partner of Congo Artemisia House), spent ten days in the reserve to :
– educate all the staff in English, French and Lingala about the benefits of Artemisia
– set up a preventive treatment programme based on artemisia afra at each of the reserve’s three sites
– train cooks in the preparation of herbal tea
– at Mboko, the main arrival site in the park, provide three days’ training in Artemisia cultivation for seven employees who will be responsible for the production, processing and storage of artemisia afra and annua.
– integrate Artemisia into their existing organic garden (layout of 40m² cultivation furrows and organic compost, transplanting of young plants) and protect the crops from animals/insects that cross the site: buffaloes, elephants and above all termites.
The first harvest is scheduled for the end of November 2023. The highly motivated beneficiaries have realised the importance of their involvement in the Artemisia production process in order to ensure the success of the programme. In addition, since last July, all the people working at the three lodge sites have benefited from preventive treatment on a voluntary basis. Since then, no employee taking the treatment has so far reported a malaria attack. This Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme, which is innovative in the region, has the potential to improve life in the community and the health of employees, as well as reduce absenteeism and the cost of medical treatment.