CAPE TOWN, May 5 – Malaria costs Africa $12 billion (eight million euros) a year in lost productivity, an expense that businesses can reduce by investing in prevention schemes, said a study released Thursday.
"Malaria is bad for business. The disease is responsible for decreased productivity, employee absenteeism and increased health care spending and can negatively impact a company\’s reputation," said the report by the Roll Back Malaria campaign.
"This heavy burden has serious impacts on businesses and economies, costing the African continent $12 billion annually in lost productivity," it said.
The report, presented at the World Economic Forum for Africa in Cape Town, analysed economic impact of malaria prevention and programmes at three companies, which cut overall medical spending in company clinics and reduced absenteeism.
"For these companies, investing in malaria prevention and control for workers and their dependants was cost effective, resulting in increasing their bottom line, producing an estimated rate of return of 28 percent under very conservative assumptions," the study said.
Malaria hurts local economies by reducing workers\’ ability to save, while straining public health budgets and reducing tax revenues.
About 90 percent of malaria deaths each year occur in Africa and 92 percent of those are children aged under five.