In 2017, a report by Congolaise NGOs was issued alleging that a road we built in 2016 for a village on the edge of the concession led to an outbreak in malaria and a high number of deaths, particularly children. To investigate the allegations, we requested advice from the NGO The Malaria Consortium. On their recommendation an independent tropical disease specialist was commissioned. The report findings show:
- While malaria is endemic in the region it was not the single or main cause of death
- The final cause was split mainly between dysentery, malaria, pneumonia and measles
- The road was assessed to have not made a relevant impact on the breeding of malarial mosquitoes due to the surrounding marsh (flooded forest) landscape which provided enormous permanent breeding ground potential for the mosquitoes.
The Summary Report by Caroline Maxwell is available here. It is also referenced in the 2017 Annual Report on page 61.
These villages are affected by immense poverty, malnutrition and many negative social factors, facilitating the spread of deadly diseases. The deep, systemic healthcare issues underpinning this tragedy cannot be solved by any one party acting alone and it will require a renewed focus on effective delivery of healthcare for the region. We have appointed a consultant to help in the development of a health and sanitation strategy for CIB. We will continue to work with NGOs, and experts to find a durable solution to help communities living in the forest.