Grindrod joins Holgate in fight against Malaria

Apr 26, 2005
Author: Kingsley Holgate & Lesley van Duffelen

from material provided by Kingsley Holgate and Lesley Van Duffelen

In rural African villages where most of the pregnant women and children sleep under insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets, the rate of illness caused by malaria has dropped dramatically. Unfortunately only 1% or 2% of the population in malarial areas have nets to sleep under

Grindrod, South Africa’s leading shipping and logistics company, is to combine some of its muscle with that of world renowned National Geographic Explorer, Kingsley Holgate, his family team and other sponsors in the fight against Malaria on the African East Coast from Mozambique to the Somali Border.

“It is a tragedy that a person should die every minute of every day and night from Malaria, a disease that is avoidable and curable. I am told this horrific situation is worsening to such an extent that Malaria is being regarded as a bigger killer than Aids,” said Ivan Clark managing director of Grindrod.

“Because Malaria is an avoidable disease I strongly feel that we need to do what we can to keep fighting it, to do our best to turn the tide on a disease that affects the most vulnerable, including mothers and babies, and is dubbed Africa’s silent killer.”

Research shows that on average no more than two percent of rural villagers can afford or have access to mosquito nets, so Holgate and Grindrod plan to distribute thousands of life-saving nets impregnated with mosquito repellent.

Holgate’s Malaria-fighting odyssey called African Rainbow encapsulates Grindrod’s maritime roots, bringing to life the excitement, dangers, horrors and beauty of the ancient dhow trade.

Dhows that historically carried slaves and ivory will now be loaded with mosquito nets. One dhow will sail from Pemba in Mozambique to the most Northern part of the Kenyan Coast and another will sail around Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake.

A convoy of sponsored Land Rovers and inflatable boats will form an integral part of the expedition distributing thousands of insecticide impregnated mosquito nets, anti-malaria products and information leaflets in remote villages up estuaries and throughout central and East Africa.

The expedition departs from Durban on 3 June carrying Grindrod’s goodwill to some of the most remote parts of Africa.

“Our slogan is One net one life,” said Clark, adding that supporting Malaria prevention fell squarely into Grindrod’s Social Responsibility policy.

“As a shipping and logistics group carrying over 20 million tonnes of cargo and operating over 100 vessels at any one time, we have not forgotten our social responsibility. While we are striving ahead with plans to grow our business with a R2 billion fleet expansion and a R1 billion expansion of land-based operations, we are “walking the talk” when it comes to giving back to society,” he said.

In wishing Holgate well with his latest campaign Carl Reinders, marketing manager for Captain Morgan Black Label said the brand would continue to put its weight behind Holgate’s expeditions because he was true to the spirit of the brand with his ‘sense of adventure’ and his naturally gregarious and jocular nature.

For Holgate the call of adventure never stops. But he says: “Like the early adventurers I have sweated it out with malaria on countless occasions – I’ve learnt my lesson, sleep under a mosquito net and when infected treat immediately or risk death somewhere out in the African bush.

“Following the early explorers takes us to remote villages far from any regular health services, where most people are unable to afford a mosquito net. In the mangrove swamps of the Rufiji delta fisherman paddle for days by dugout to get to the nearest clinic - malaria is their single biggest problem.

“While following HM Stanley’s circumnavigation of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake we constantly are shocked by the number of deaths caused by malaria, babies crying out for help mothers not knowing what to do.

“We use our Captain Morgan branded expedition Land Rovers as mobile clinics to distribute insecticide impregnated nets, educational material and Peaceful Sleep anti-malarial products. Standing on the bonnets of our Land Rovers, our team gives Malaria Prevention talks especially to pregnant mothers and those with young babies. (Malaria parasites enter the blood stream when an infected Anopheles mosquito bites a person; they multiply in the host’s liver and red blood cells. Pregnant women are especially vulnerable as they make lots of blood to nourish their growing foetus).

“It is truly rewarding, we get to meet village Chiefs and the people sing and dance in appreciation. While we know our efforts are but a drop in the ocean, our message and that of all our sponsors is that “although malaria kills it is an avoidable and curable disease that we need to keep on fighting”.

“Our many sponsors make this fight possible and are further proof that there are companies that care for Africa’s rural communities,” said Holgate.

(Monday 25 April 2005 was Africa Malaria Day)


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