Company’s Partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health Rwanda Provides Better Access to Health Care for Families
Press Release – RACINE, Wis., January 30, 2019 – SC Johnson today announced plans to support the development of an additional 40 health posts throughout Rwanda, expanding access to health care and malaria education for more than 200,000 people. This expands on the company’s 2018 investment, which established 10 health posts in rural Rwanda in July, bringing the total to 50.
“We want to see an end to malaria and all mosquito-borne diseases,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “We’re continually working to get people educational information and products that may help protect them from mosquito-borne illness. Beyond helping local families, this partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health Rwanda is providing insights and best practices that will help our efforts to fight malaria in other countries around the world.”
Partnering for Public Health
The health posts will be operated by the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health Rwanda in an expansion of the successful four-year partnership launched in 2018. Their goal is to help address public health issues in Rwanda including malaria, HIV/AIDS, family planning, access to clean water and nutrition.
“We are thankful for SC Johnson’s investment in the health of our communities, and for the continuing partnership in establishing best practices on issues such as malaria,” said Dr. Diane Gashumba, Rwanda Minister of Health. “With the additional health posts, Rwanda can further support health care needs for the 50 percent of our communities that are in rural, hard-to-reach areas, and significantly reduce the distance families need to travel for care.”
Since opening the initial health posts in 2018, the partnership has created access to health services for more than 60,000 people. Prior to that, it was estimated that the average Rwandan in search of health care needed to walk up to three hours to reach the nearest services.
“I am very excited about our partnership with SC Johnson particularly in the fight against malaria,” said Manasseh Gihana Wandera, Executive Director, Society for Family Health Rwanda. “With the support of SC Johnson, we are able to reach rural communities, educate about ways to prevent malaria and provide a holistic approach to accessing health care services.”
Tackling Malaria Together
Studies have shown that using spatial repellents can reduce the frequency of mosquito bites and may reduce new malaria occurrences – a vital public health need considering that the World Health Organization reported 219 million cases of malaria globally in 2016. By making malaria education and mosquito repellent products available at community health posts, SC Johnson helps more people to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
The partnership between SC Johnson, the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health Rwanda also includes developing national standards to address mosquito-borne diseases and set local safety and efficacy standards for pest products. The national standards will focus on the distribution and use of mosquito spatial and personal insect repellent products, as well as the encouragement of positive behavioral changes to reduce the potential risk of mosquito-borne disease.
“Visiting one of the health posts, the stories I heard from the staff and patients were moving and powerful,” said Johnson. “Access to malaria education is vital and access to health care overall is transformative. We’re thrilled SC Johnson can help as we continue our work to fight mosquito-borne diseases and provide more families with access to a better life.”
Working to Improve Communities at the Base of the Pyramid
SC Johnson has provided sustainable business solutions for decades to raise the standard of living and provide opportunities for a better quality of life for the 4 billion people who occupy the base of the world’s economic pyramid. Focusing on insect-borne disease education, the company aims to reduce the percentage of malaria cases globally by increasing access to pest control products and insect-borne disease education including:
- Launching an unprecedented partnership with the Rwanda Ministry of Health and the Society for Family Health Rwanda in 2018 to build 10 health care posts and provide health care services in rural areas of Rwanda to help address public health issues like malaria.
- Partnering with The Coca-Cola Co. in 2017 as a part of the EKOCENTER program. This program provides safe drinking water, sanitation, solar energy and wireless communication to countries including Rwanda and Vietnam. The centers are modular retail experiences, run by women operators, that provide commerce of basic goods including OFF!® mosquito repellent lotion, Baygon® mosquito coils and KIWI® shoe polish.
- Working with Cornell University’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise in 2012 to launch the WOW™ club pilot in Ghana to explore new ways to help families reduce the transmission of malaria with a business model that brings repellents and insecticides to rural families. The resulting efforts have helped low-income homemakers care for their homes and families.
- Administering a study in 2010 with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to determine the effects of spatial repellents in fighting malaria-infected mosquitoes in Sumba, Indonesia.